Tuesday, May 14, 2013

How many crows can dance on a limb?

How beautiful is each translucent floret of the sweet, sweet pea? Tonight I have been going through stacks of paper I've been saving to look at later, I think someone once said, "You can't take it with you!" I wasn't listening, and act as if I thought I could. And I am leaving the William Stafford books here, so other crows will have to dance, while I'm in Michigan. But not tonight.

Why the Sun Comes Up

To be ready again if they find an owl, crows
choose any old tree before dawn and hold a conversation
where they practice their outrage routine. "Let's elect
someone. "No, no! Forget it." They
see how many crows can dance on a limb.
"Hey, listen to this one." One old crow
flaps away off and looks toward the east. In that
lonely blackness God begins to speak
in a silence beyond all that moves. Delighted
wings move close and almost touch each other.
Everything stops for a minute, and the sun rises.

William Stafford, reprinted in Crossing Unmarked Snow; further views on the writer's vocation. University of Michigan Press, 1998. Page 97. (A short essay on how he came to write this poem precedes it in this book.)

I found the ending of this a total surprise when I first read it! I love the way the moment before sunrise is like a held breath! Sleep well, I might miss the actual dawn tomorrow, though, being a night owl, rather than a crow.
PS: I'm a little overwhelmed at the increase in readership of this blog. It makes me blush, but that's a happy blush.

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