Saturday, September 27, 2014

Autumn Buck: Elegy

This fellow is in the prime of his life, strong and in good shape, nimble and delicate in motion,
(I am almost finished with the biography of Rudolf Nureyev, which I am reading on my Kindle at bedtime. This has made me pay attention to the structures of the body.) This young buck's ribs, other bones, and components of muscle and ligament clearly show. The whitetail deer are naturally graceful, like dancers, in the way they move about, scratch behind an ear with a hind hoof, and bounce off at a run into the forest. It is almost hunting season here, when convenience stores
all sport huge new tied-up banners: WELCOME HUNTERS! So, as I watch these few deer
browse my lawn, I am feeling elegiac.

There are more photos of deer grace below ths wonderful poem.

Elegy for the Giant Tortoises

Let others pray for the passenger pigeon
the dodo, the whooping crane, the eskimo:
everyone must specialize

I will confine myself to a meditation
upon the giant tortoises
withering finally on a remote island.

I concentrate in subway stations,
in parks, I can't quite see them,
they move to the peripheries of my eyes

but on the last day they will be there;
already the event
like a wave travelling shapes vision:

on the road where I stand they will materialize,
plodding past me in a straggling line
awkward without water

their small heads pondering
from side to side, their useless armour
sadder than tanks and history,

in their closed gaze ocean and sunlight paralysed,
lumbering up the steps, under the archways
toward the square glass altars

where the brittle gods are kept,
the relics of what we have destroyed,
our holy and obsolete symbols.

Margaret Atwood

Selected Poems, Houghton Mifflin, 1976, page 56.

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