Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Someone asked about the hawks. Yes, they are still hanging out in our neighborhood. This morning one was sitting out in the crapple tree tearing away at what was probably a smaller bird. They aren't congregating in the tree as much as they did at first, but their presence is felt. Their constant "kwee" cuts through the air as they call out to each other all day long.

Last night, I heard a burst of laughter coming from the bedroom and opened the door to find Alan reading, of all things, a poetry book. He reads poetry all the time before he goes to bed, but never with laughter. Before letting me read what he was holding, he ran to get an old anthology to show me probably the most well known of William Stafford's poems. Here's the two poems, the second of which made me laugh very hard, too.

Travelling Through the Dark
By William Stafford

Travelling through the dark I found a deer
dead on the edge of the Wilson River road.
It is usually best to roll them into the canyon:
that road is narrow; to swerve might make more dead.

By glow of the tail-light I stumbled back of the car
and stood by the heap, a doe, a recent killing;
she had stiffened already, almost cold.
I dragged her off; she was large in the belly.

My fingers touching her side brought me the reason-
her side was warm; her fawn lay there waiting,
alive, still, never to be born.
Beside the mountain road I hesitated.

The car aimed ahead its lowered parking lights;
under the hood purred the steady engine.
I stood in the glare of the warm exhaust turning red;
around our group I could hear the wilderness listen.

I thought hard for us all -my only swerving-
then pushed her over the edge into the river.

Traveling through the Yard
(for William Stafford)
by Rae Armantrout

It was lying near my back porch
in the gaudy light of morning--
a dove corpse, oddly featherless,
alive with flies.
I stopped,
dustpan in hand, and heard
them purr over their feast.
To leave that there would make some stink!
So thinking hard for all of us,
I scooped it up, heaved it
across the marriage counselor's fence.

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