Art: Mark Collins
This Autumn afternoon
the young hawk
took himself into the air
arising from some secret in the old orchard
and banking toward the blue-hued mountains
to station in one of the far-reaching red oaks
that the farmer let live for want of
cattle-shade. Black angus. Not very
imaginative. The hawk: I thought of poetry,
of Gary Snyder up in a fire
tower scribing masterpieces
on simplicity and balance.
Then, as if it was meant to demonstrate how
quickly a lovely thought can shapeshift into some
harsh reality, the squirrel arrived and that, was
that: not well-practiced but honed by necessity,
it cut across the distance. Woosh!
I said to myself: “Look at the way he loves. Look
at the way he serves Heaven. Look how he
learns who he is.” There was nothing to disdain.
Nothing to grieve. There was an impaled
squirrel there—thick with the season—twitching in
the grass and a hawk mantling his prey just
like a voice that I couldn’t hear told him
to do. In his golden eyes, I saw the low yellow
sun and the yellow flowers that friends
give each other when red means too much.
I remembered other things that had seemed
like something until suddenly things changed.
There was some grief in that, and some joy too. And,
this is where I was with my thoughts when he arose
with the squirrel and went off, pulsing, somewhere
into the wood where he could tear a lifeapart in private. I became the poet.
(c) 2017/Jamie K. Reaser
Installment for collaborative book project and show with artist Mark Collins
Work in progress
Feel free to share