Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tracking Buddha \ Raven In Winter Feels Free

Alan:  Nancy put this one on the refrigerator – her highest honor.
Tracking Buddha
This morning was perfect
for tracking Buddha:
a little fresh fluff
on crust you could run on:
snow’s formlessness
holding the perfect forms
of the prints.
I found plenty of
squirrel tracks –
tracks of whitefooted mice –
voles – the lick of their tails –
a shrew’s starved scribble –
coyotes, hares –
fox’s purposeful meander –
but no Buddha.
Searching the field edge,
crossing the wide glare
to peer under apples,
spruces, I read the news
of porcupines – deer –
raccoons – even, by the marsh,
some geese.  No Buddha.
Then, on my neighbor’s land,
near the vanished farmhouse
and ramshackle barn,
I found where a grouse
had stepped out
from the woods,
stitched its careful, straight seam –
put its wings down, once –
and flew, what, five yards?, six?,
surely just a single beat,
to land in a sliding skid
of two long parallel
I imagine that bird
waking after a bitter night
to peer from cover into sun –
step forth – look around
cautiously and, 
knowing it is alone,
execute a moment
of perfect impromptu
before walking on,
wings at sides
as if in silent
into the far trees.
Nancy:  The raven’s a bird of infinite fascination, acrobatic, versatile and clever.
Raven In Winter Feels Free
Listen to that high flown rhetoric!
Raven’s preaching, running for election,
riding his invisible bike on an invisible wire,
punning, coining aphorisms, assuming
a supervisory position,
and delivering himself of various pithy
(and unsolicited) bits of advice.
In the winter, Raven’s positively garrulous.
We’re astonished.  Wouldn’t you be astonished
to see your quiet neighbor take his calloused hands
out of his pocket and launch into The Devil’s Trill
on a harmonica?  Why, it’s like watching the parson
do the hula on a beach in Hawaii –
still in his three piece suit.
No doubt about it, winter can be long
and hard, but summer folks miss a lot:
winter’s a good time
to get to know the neighbors.
“Raven In Winter Feels Free” first appeared in Blueline magazine.

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