Jilly D.

Hawk by Mary Oliver

In Holidays, Mourning, Signs from beyond on April 24, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Hawk

This morning

the hawk

rose up

out of the meadow’s brose

and swung over the lake —

it settled

on the small black dome

of a dead pine,

alert as an admiral,

its profile

distinguished with sideburns

the color of smoke,

and I said: remember

this is not something

of the red fire, this is

heaven’s fistful

of death and destruction,

and the hawk hooked

one exquisite foot

onto a last twig

to look deeper

into the yellow reeds

along the edges of the water

and I said: remember

the tree, the cave,

the white lilly of resurrection,

and that’s when it simply lifted

its golden feet and floated

into the wind, belly-first,

and then it cruised along the lake —

all the time its eyes fastened

harder than love on some

uninimportant rustling in the

yellow reeds — and then it

seemed to crouch high in the air, and then it

turned into a white blade, which fell.

Mary Oliver

pp. 34-35 in New and Selected Poems: Volume One (Beacon Press: Boston, 1992)

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