Caged Bird

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage

A Poet's Death Is His Life Iv

The dark wings of night enfolded the city upon which Nature had spread a pure white garment of snow; and men deserted the streets for their houses in search of warmth, while the north wind probed in contemplation of laying waste the gardens. There in the suburb stood an old hut heavily laden with snow and on the verge of falling. In a dark recess of that hovel was a poor bed in which a dying youth was lying, staring at the dim light of his oil lamp, made to flicker by the entering winds. He a man in the spring of life who foresaw fully that the peaceful hour of freeing himself from the clutches of life was fast nearing. He was awaiting Death's visit gratefully, and upon his pale face appeared the dawn of hope; and on his lops a sorrowful smile; and in his eyes forgiveness.

Beautiful Butterfly

In a beautiful butterfly,
Your face comes so true to me.

Through a pretty butterfly
You come flying so serene into me.

As the tiny wings flutter
I watch with love and joy
and wonder how it could be
that I see your face coming to me.

Birds Of Prey

Their shadow dims the sunshine of our day,
As they go lumbering across the sky,
Squawking in joy of feeling safe on high,
Beating their heavy wings of owlish gray.
They scare the singing birds of earth away
As, greed-impelled, they circle threateningly,
Watching the toilers with malignant eye,
From their exclusive haven- birds of prey.
They swoop down for the spoil in certain might,
And fasten in our bleeding flesh their claws.

A Gentle Voice

Speak not, to me, of mundane things,
The daily chores, which dull the mind,
But converse with a gentle voice that sings,
As if all the golden thoughts you find,
Have materialized thus, on scripted wings,
Leaving one's humdrum life behind.

© Ernestine Northover

Vulture

I had walked since dawn and lay down to rest on a bare hillside
Above the ocean. I saw through half-shut eyelids a vulture wheeling
high up in heaven,
And presently it passed again, but lower and nearer, its orbit
narrowing,
I understood then
That I was under inspection. I lay death-still and heard the flight-
feathers
Whistle above me and make their circle and come nearer.
I could see the naked red head between the great wings

Optimistic Man

as a child he never plucked the wings off flies
he didn't tie tin cans to cats' tails
or lock beetles in matchboxes
or stomp anthills
he grew up
and all those things were done to him
I was at his bedside when he died
he said read me a poem
about the sun and the sea
about nuclear reactors and satellites

God

In the ancient days, when the first quiver of speech came to my lips, I ascended the holy mountain and spoke unto God, saying, 'Master, I am thy slave. Thy hidden will is my law and I shall obey thee for ever more.'

But God made no answer, and like a mighty tempest passed away.

And after a thousand years I ascended the holy mountain and again spoke unto God, saying, 'Creator, I am thy creation. Out of clay hast thou fashioned me and to thee I owe mine all.'

And God made no answer, but like a thousand swift wings passed away.

Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things --
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted |&| pieced -- fold, fallow, |&| plough;
And {'a}ll trades, their gear |&| tackle |&| trim.
All things counter, original, sp{'a}re, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckl{`e}d, (who knows how?)
With sw{'i}ft, sl{'o}w; sweet, s{'o}ur; ad{'a}zzle, d{'i}m;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is p{'a}st change:

Two Children

Two children (small), one Four, one Five,
Once saw a bee go in a hive,
They'd never seen a bee before!
So waited there to see some more.
And sure enough along they came
A dozen bees (and all the same!)
Within the hive they buzzed about;
Then, one by one, they all flew out.
Said Four: 'Those bees are silly things,
But how I wish I had their wings!'

The Bat

By day the bat is cousin to the mouse.
He likes the attic of an aging house.

His fingers make a hat about his head.
His pulse beat is so slow we think him dead.

He loops in crazy figures half the night
Among the trees that face the corner light.

But when he brushes up against a screen,

Between Walls

the back wings
of the

hospital where
nothing

will grow lie
cinders

In which shine

Fourth Floor, Dawn, Up All Night Writing Letters

Pigeons shake their wings on the copper church roof
out my window across the street, a bird perched on the cross
surveys the city's blue-grey clouds. Larry Rivers
'll come at 10 AM and take my picture. I'm taking
your picture, pigeons. I'm writing you down, Dawn.
I'm immortalizing your exhaust, Avenue A bus.
O Thought, now you'll have to think the same thing forever!

Teaching Xviii

Then said a teacher, 'Speak to us of Teaching.'

And he said:

No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of our knowledge.

The teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple, among his followers, gives not of his wisdom but rather of his faith and his lovingness.

If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.

Eagle On Wings

Have you watched an eagle in flight?
On wings flayed, it looks a massive kite
It shoots into the heights with unlabored ease
Enjoying the kiss of passing breeze

Quickly disappearing into the seamless sky
It becomes invisible to every gazing eye
Is there any other bird so awesomely regal
As this avian king in grandeur proverbial?

Hard Times

Music is silenced, the dark descending slowly
Has stripped unending skies of all companions.
Weariness grips your limbs and within the locked horizons
Dumbly ring the bells of hugely gathering fears.
Still, O bird, O sightless bird,
Not yet, not yet the time to furl your wings.


It's not melodious woodlands but the leaps and falls
Of an ocean's drowsy booming,

I know why the caged bird sings

A free bird leaps on the back
Of the wind and floats downstream
Till the current ends and dips his wing
In the orange suns rays
And dares to claim the sky.

But a BIRD that stalks down his narrow cage
Can seldom see through his bars of rage
His wings are clipped and his feet are tied
So he opens his throat to sing.

Two Wishes Xi

In the silence of the night Death descended from God toward the earth. He hovered above a city and pierced the dwellings with his eyes. He say the spirits floating on wings of dreams, and the people who were surrendered to the Slumber.

When the moon fell below the horizon and the city became black, Death walked silently among the houses - careful to touch nothing - until he reached a palace. He entered through the bolted gates undisturbed, and stood by the rich man's bed; and as Death touched his forehead, the sleeper's eyes opened, showing great fright.

The Wild Swans At Coole

THE trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty Swans.
The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount

Fire-Caught

The gold moth did not love him
So, gorgeous, she flew away.
But the gray moth circled the flame
Until the break of day.
And then, with wings like a dead desire,
She fell, fire-caught, into the flame.