Sunday, January 10, 2010

Your Sunday Poem

Often, in spring, as I drive along Highway One between SLO and Morro Bay, I’ll see buzzards perched on the phone poles, their wings akimbo, soaking up the early morning sun. And always, everywhere, the buzzards soaring, wheeling, riding the thermals, looking for lunch. This poem by Mary Oliver, from her book “American Primitive.”


Like large dark
butterflies they sweep over
the glades looking
for death,
to eat it,
to make it vanish,
to make of it the miracle:
Resurrection. No one
knows how many
they are who daily
minister so to the grassy
miles, no one
counts how many bodies
they discover
and descend to, demonstrating
each time the earth’s
appetite, the unending
waterfalls of change.
no one, moreover, wants to ponder it,
how it will be
to feel the blood cool,
shapeliness dissolve.
Locked into
the blaze of our own bodies
we watch them
wheeling and drifting, we
honor them and we
loathe them,
however wise the doctrine,
however magnificent the cycles,
however ultimately sweet
the huddle of death to fuel
those powerful wings.


Sewertoons said...

Wow! Great poem!! Thank you Ann! Interesting niche that they fill on the food chain…

annerallen said...

I love this one. I've always thought it was important to honor vultures. They're the clean-up committee.

Mike Green said...

I'm pretty sure I got de ja vu But I do love this one:
One sweet pound of filet mignon
sizzles on the roadside. Let's say a hundred yards below
the buzzard. The buzzard
sees no cars or other buzzards
between the mountain range due north
and the horizon to the south
and across the desert west and east
no other creature's nose leads him to this feast.
The buzzard's eyes are built for this: he can see the filet's raw
and he likes the sprig
of parsley in this brown and dusty place.
No abdomens to open here before he eats.
No tearing, slashing with his beak,
no offal-wading
to pick and rip the softest parts.
He does not need to threaten or screech
to keep the other buzzards from his meat.
He circles slowly down,
not a flap, not a shiver in his wide wings,
and lands before his dinner, an especially lucky buzzard,
who bends his neck to pray, then eats.

Thomas Lux

Churadogs said...

Wonderful poem. Thanks. Sometimes on Hwy. 1 on a cold, early morning, you'll see a whole line of telephone poles with one buzzard perched on each, wings akimbo, looking like a row of Roman columns at a villa, all in a row with statues perched on top. Amazing sight.

Sewertoons said...

Nice, Mike!

Hey, I found this different-than-the-Trib obit on Los Osos, citizen Art Clokey (Gumby creator) here:

Sorry for the interruption Ann, but it might be of interest, as Art Clokey was a poet with clay!

Churadogs said...

Ah, that was both wonderful and sad. A long wonderfull life doing what you love and bringing much happiness into the world. Hooray for Art Clokey.