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The Hawk

ISSUE:  Summer 1986

The hawk sweeps down from his aerie,
dives among swallows,
turns over twice in the air,
flying out of Catal-Huyuk.
Slowly a hawk in us
frees itself from the fog;
its sleek head sees far off.

And the ocean turns in,
gives birth to herring
oriented to the poles.
Oregon fir needles, pungent
as the proverbs of old men,
ride down the Rogue River,
enter the ocean currents.

Land and sea mingle, so we
mingle with sky and wind. A mole
told me that his mother
had gone into the sky,
and his father lay curled
in a horse-chestnut shell.
And my brother is part of the ocean.

Our great uncles, grandfathers,
great-grandfathers, remain.
While we lie asleep, they see
the grasshopper resting
on the grass blade, and the wolverine
sweeping with his elegant
teeth through the forest.

And they come near. Whenever
we talk with a small
child, the dead help us
to choose words. Choosing words,
courage comes. When a man
encouraged by the dead goes
where he wishes to go,

then he sees the long tongue
of water on which the whale
rides on his journey.
Having found at last
the way that is his own,
he tastes through glacial waters
the Labrador ferns and snows.


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