A robin

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A robin, solitary, young by now raised, body gathered inward against the chill light, breast the color of sunset, color of embers blown with new life, that were embers yet and never would birth flames, perched taut on the taut catenary stretched from beginning to end, from end to beginning, and far nearer one than the other

was moveless the while

I watched

till time had gone

then did I cross the new mown lawn, then I walked on, past gray sermons of buildings, past black stones standing, moving along alone beneath the dark green trees and through the park and through the cheering dawn toward town

only, nearly there,

to pause, struck still, pierced neatly to the brain on glimpsing, pictured in the patternless cracked sidewalk cement, having hastened before me to lay itself as if by happenstance across my path,

my own shocked heart.

 

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Thirteen Things the Government Doesn’t Want You to Know about Blackbirds

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1.
New rule in your city:
Everything you know about blackbirds
Is about to change.

2.
The blackbird told me
One simple trick
To get the IRS off my back.

3.
Check out these
Hilarious blackbird fails!

4.
Revealed: secrets
Of the world’s richest blackbirds.

5.
Click here to view
Celebrity nude blackbirds!!!

6.
I am Nigerian prince
Recently come to possession
Of substantial Blackbirds.
Transmission of a small sum
To pay Customs duty
Enables their release to you.

7.
Watch how this chance meeting
Between two blackbirds
Erupts into violence.

8.
The unblinking eye
Of the blackbird
Is our last bulwark
Against terrorism.

9.
Here are six wild predictions
That came true
About a blackbird.

10.
Yes! Yes!
Blackbird!

11.
Red wing; black bird;
The all-in-all.
It takes millions of colors
To make this clear
So buy a new phone now

12.
Secret brain pill blackbirds are using
May soon let them
Replace humans.

13.
True science:
This blackbird
Kept in a sealed box
Was both alive and dead
And neither.

 

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The Museum Elephants

Elephant in Rotunda of Smithsonian Natural History Museum

Within the murmurous expanse
Beneath the bas-relief-ringed dome
The taxidermied elephants
Reign over their eternal home:

With tiles for the grass-giving earth;
For sun-burnt destinations, walls.
Eight times a week, the monkey mirth
Of school groups echoes through the halls

While in and out the galleries
Architectonically discrete
The docents’ high-toned rhapsodies
Contend with sounds of scuffling feet.

And once a month someone comes in
Brushes the dust from wrinkled skin
Sweeps cobwebs from the painted skies
And polishes the glittering eyes.

 

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“You can’t teach a rhinoceros tricks”

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“You can’t teach a rhinoceros tricks,” he had explained in his brief and vigorous style.
Brave New World

You can’t teach a rhinoceros tricks
You can’t teach her to play dead or dance
Though you whip or reward her, malign or implore her,
She won’t fetch, beg, speak or shake hands.

You can’t teach a rhinoceros tricks
Not because she’s not worthy or fun
The rhinoceros goes where she wants to go
And will do what she always has done.

Try to teach a rhinoceros tricks
The results uniformly are gruesome
And the worst thing of all is, it’s quite possible
It may end up with her teaching you some.

 

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Maybe I should have been

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Maybe I should have been
a nature poet, talking up
clouds and lakes,
wolves and rabbits,
the coyote, the honeybee, the scorpion.

Maybe I should have spent my time
traveling from desert to climax forest,
traveling from valley to mountainside,
talking forest fires, rolling fog,
the endless waves that munch seaside cliffs,
the fantastical desert arches
that occupy our cross section of time,
snails, beetles, microbes, grizzly bears,
and how everything fails and is reborn.

Maybe I’ll let go of my newspaper
this time, maybe
I’ll move to the suburbs and write about
a drowned man, maybe
I’ll go to work for a bank
and write about a drowned man,
maybe after writing about the sea
all my life, it will be a happy ending
to load my pockets with stones
and wade to meet the rising tide.

Maybe I’ll go to work for an insurance company
and write about ice cream.

Maybe I will yet.
Meanwhile, just to remind me
that it’s not all over,
here comes that blackbird again,
calling to see if I’m ready yet
to do the next thing.

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dreamed

4-bears

dreamed
I was
pursued
by 4 bears

1 was continually arriving from beyond the east
1 was striking like a hammer without any anvil
1 was in love with god who tangled him up like a vine
1 was singing like a river om om om om

by 4 bears
pursued
I was
dreamed

 

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It was the gods all right

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And the golden gods went by running
When the day was ending and the sun.
You may not have noticed, they could have been anyone

Except the way the light
Penetrated the world just then;
Except the way the aspen’s goldcoin leaves
Quivered as if air were water;
Except the way the birds went on singing
Even after night rose up all around;
Except the way the bat cut new sigils into the dark
And the way the stars were bright.

They’re gone now but yes
It was the gods all right.

 

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The birds gave autumn up

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The birds gave autumn up for dead
But made a song before they fled
Here are the words they sang and said:

Oh, no, it’s the end of the world!
Oh, no, it’s the end of the world!
Oh, no, it’s the end of the world!
Let’s scatter the nests and fly away!

The frogs have sunk and turned to stone
The seeds are sleeping, each alone,
The rest of the world may do as it pleases
When we are gone, gone, gone, gone.

But Spring hatched from December’s nut;
The grass turned green and the ram sprang up;
The birds returned from where they’d flown
Acting as if they’d always known;
The seeds from their stony sleep uncurled
And the birds made song for the beginning of the world.

 

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Oh

hide and seek GIMP 1

Oh,

The future is not like a train
Because if you got caught on the tracks
Because you saw it coming
Because it’s your own damn fault

Oh,

The future is more like a tiger
Because it’s not coming closer it’s waiting
Because only the survivors will ever know
Because it was there all along in the grass

 

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