Today, a red-tail hawk took off
from its high perch in the white birch,
with enough downward thrust to break
the limb free from the tree’s body.

The heavy timber in free fall
shatters boughs jagged at the trunk,
crisp splintered pops, thick bones breaking.
hurled to the ground like body-slams.

Old sunlight beams through the new gap,
illuminating fine sawdust
left to hover in afterglow,
to float as do mists of passing.

I sit on pines’ dried-out needles,
last year’s vintage, weathered copper,
matted thick and aromatic;
when I was younger, I’d sleep here.

Stars then dominated the sky,
speckled cutouts of hydrogen,
strewn across space more void than black,
echoing sight as well as sound.

I howled and yelped at the night’s souls,
my own peculiar assertion
to the panoply of creatures,
that I also wept among them.

Then the rhythms were always prime
numbers of beats in odd meters,
harmonies rich in dissonance
modulated freely in time.

I was a resonator then,
I’d wake up with all of being
cascading through the barriers
to take refuge there in my heart.

Breakfast for me was morning frost,
a clean, sweet, fruity granita,
gathered from wildflowers grown
in the fields along the north rise.

The rainbows then were plentiful,
merging, yielding underwater,
rushing gill-fully, to and fro,
in a froth of their own making

I gather the wood that’s fallen,
the sap at the edges is rich,
it will need a season to dry,
before it is ready to burn.

The hawk, silently overhead,
feathers of henna and auburn,
glides, without need for echelon,
alive, aware of all outcomes.

© Carlos Chagall, 2013

You might also enjoy these earlier posts about Battenkill:

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