Poetry Dispatch No.172 | June 14, 2007
Of Buzzard, Horse, Wolf, and Purple Finch
A TALE FROM OLD BUZZARD’S YOUTH by Eric Chaet
Buzzard hears of a tribe that worships him, skims hillside & forest, &
soars high in slow circle of observation & contemplation.
Below him, villagers flying kite in his image, burning incense, laying
out sacrificial meat.
Touched by the meat, he dips a wing & drops straight down.
But villagers shoot arrows & yell, No! No! Holy meat for HOLY buzzard!
Buzzard rises up, dives, catches & crushes kite-buzzard in claws,
shits on several archers & a priestess, scoops up meat, & eats with
clenched brows in limbs of huge cactus, deep in Southwest.
Makes him so sick, he pukes 2 days.
Sd the Master: The art of forgetting is the radius of circle-soaring,
slow, slow, in blue geometry of sky & bird.
from Old Buzzard of No-Man’s Land, Toronto: Coach House Press, 1974.
Horse by Jim Harrison
What if it were our privilege
to sculpt our dreams of animals?
But those shapes in the night
come and go too quickly to be held
in stone: but not to avoid these shapes
as if dreams were only a nighttime
pocket to be remembered and avoided.
Who can say in the depths of
his life and heart what beast
most stopped life, the animals
he watched, the animals he only touched
in dreams? Even our hearts don’t beat
the way we want them to. What
can we know in the waking,
sleeping edge? We put down
my daughter’s old horse, old and
arthritic, a home burial. By dawn with eye
half open, I said to myself, is
he still running, is he still running
around, under the ground?
from The Theory and Practice of Rivers, Winn Books, 1985
Wolf Howl byLeroy V. Quintana
Jose Mentiras bet Tacha
that old vieja
he could make her howl
like a wolf
Impossible she said
so he asked her
how long it had been since a man
had made mad love to her
from COYOTE’S JOURNAL, Wingbow Press, 1982
“o purple finch
please tell me why
this summer world (and you and I
who love so much to live)
should tell you anything”
(that eagerly sweet carolling
self answers me)
“I could not sing”
from e.e. cummings a selection of poems, A Harvest Book, 1965