Sunday, June 1, 2014


The Last Caw

For Mark Tobey               
(After THREE BIRDS, c. 1934-1935)

riotous ravens scour rocks volcanic,
gleaming granite, pacing, spindly legs on
cadmium landscape beneath the sky of fire-

storm omens. Lava breaks the belly of
our earth - spilling rare substances, licking
great forests, leveling dwellings, cathedrals,

flamboyant bridges, with swirling storms of steel;
oceans bleed seven-petal-anemones,
iridescent origins of the universe.

One raven, in fact, bears the brightest wing
with streaks of snow. Another pecks at bits of
dry moss, emerging from a cave near a grove

of needle-less cedars. Final roof of ice begins
to fall when our gaping earth, birthing, groans

A pair of ravens, brooding, looking
rather pleased, skip around a murky pond –
longing for lotuses, white lilies. They rest
beside a swath of asphalt; for they, too, are asphalt,
remains of burnt cathedral travertine,
lapis lazuli turned into soot, yet, now,
(please look closely) how their darkness glistens
magnanimity: night of microscopic
constellations spewed out into a fast-
receding coal-black abyss recalling
every galaxy’s, every grain of sand’s –
each root’s, each fruit’s, each nest’s…now listen: music
of each survivor’s new, lyre-muted caw
like brave raven’s last fire-mooted caw

1 comment:

  1. Moving allusions to the state of our ecology,
    to American Indian and Eastern mythology as well.
    Thanks for publishing this poem.