Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sunday Morning Poetry

The Armadillo

For Robert Lowell

This is the time of year
when almost every night
the frail, illegal fire balloons appear.
Climbing the mountain height,

rising toward a saint
still honored in these parts,
the paper chambers flush and fill with light
that comes and goes, like hearts.

Once up against the sky it's hard
to tell them from the stars—
planets, that is—the tinted ones:
Venus going down, or Mars,

or the pale green one. With a wind,
they flare and falter, wobble and toss;
but if it's still they steer between
the kite sticks of the Southern Cross,

receding, dwindling, solemnly
and steadily forsaking us,
or, in the downdraft from a peak,
suddenly turning dangerous.

Last night another big one fell.
It splattered like an egg of fire
against the cliff behind the house.
The flame ran down. We saw the pair

of owls who nest there flying up
and up, their whirling black-and-white
stained bright pink underneath, until
they shrieked up out of sight.

The ancient owls' nest must have burned.
Hastily, all alone,
a glistening armadillo left the scene,
rose-flecked, head down, tail down,

and then a baby rabbit jumped out,
short-eared, to our surprise.
So soft!—a handful of intangible ash
with fixed, ignited eyes.

Too pretty, dreamlike mimicry!
O falling fire and piercing cry
and panic, and a weak mailed fist
clenched ignorant against the sky!
~ Elizabeth Bishop

Happy Sunday, my friends.

The amazing image of a Great Horned Owl in Flight at the Auburn Raptor Center is by Scott Fillmer. You can spot much more of his wonderful work here.


S. Etole said...

And Happy Sunday to you, too. The photo of that owl is great.

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

Beautiful words and wonderful photography, a nice way to start the day. I hope you have a happy Sunday.


Derrick said...

Hi Relyn,

Very rich in images. I enjoyed this poem.

smith kaich jones said...

This poem affects me in a way I cannot describe, sitting here in the midst of owls & armadillos & hidden rabbits. How sad I would be to lose any of them, but what a beatiful poem.

A side of you I've not seen before - a surprise from you this morning, Miss Relyn. Many thank yous!


Anonymous said...

that is a great image of the owl.

Patti said...

What's not to love about poetry on a Sinday morning? Great image too! Hope your week is wonderful~ (loved the pics of Sloane over on Katie's site- she is just too cute!)

Kim Living Life said...

what a lovely poem, makes me sad for the owls, bunny and armadillo. A nice way to start my Monday morning, way ahead of you over hear.

Gigi said...

You always pick some of my favorite poets, Relyn! Bishop is one of the poets I read over and over, and I think few poets have had more influence on my own writing. Her book Geography III is my favorite of all. Thanks for giving me the chance to revisit this poem today, my friend. xoxo Gigi

Roban said...

I haven't read her poems but will. Thanks for sharing....

elsa said...

oooh, i smiled all the way through! i never this one before and enjoyed it so much!

thank you relyn!!!

Jaime said...

Oh you have given me a new poet to explore! I just picked up my very first Pablo Neruda book of poems and I am enjoying it immensly. Now I would like to read more of Elizabeth Bishop. Thank you!


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