A merciless night here for the trees.
At dawn: stripped bushes,
————————–strewn branches.
Surveying the scatter for the unbroken,
I come up with crows.
It’s random on the face of it, this ruthlessness,
——————————————this rampage—
like most of the world’s violence, much of its love.
Still, after long safety, who can resist
———————————a good dies irae
imperious, and
fierce enough to leave the chosen battered
and shining as gold foil:

I only alone am escaped to tell thee.

To tell the truth,
I cowered all night beneath the covers,
counting in the darkness
——————crack after crack of
the struck quick on my lawn.
——it’s a world scoured of the weak,
a spaciousness
wrenched from the heavens, and,
———————–up and down my street,
a debris of uprootings too large
for anything but awe:

Must I change my life?

Crows, stripped of pomp, roam this day
through a roomier sky,
—————–their caws dubious,
truncated, raw—
Washed clean against their will,
———————-they glitter blue-black
in the aftermath,
loom larger in their ruffled skins,
congregate, preen….
—————–Still alive, they scream
into the glare
of the horizontal sun.

Escaped to tell thee, I’m struck dumb.

The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Access one piece of artwork every month for free! To experience the full archive, log in or subscribe.

Related Poetry

a fish leaping upstream from a patch of white glinting gold water running in thick rivulets down a crest.

Fish Ladder, Damariscotta


Paul Mariani

The Girl and the Fruit


Adélia Prado



Alison Pelegrin

full frame black and white photo of an old forest. and a pathway or small clearing through the trees. the trees are sturdy and tall and stand in straight lines, the merest hints of branches only visible at the top of the frame. the entire image is diffused with light that weaves through the trees and settles on the land like perfume.

They Went On and On…


Svetlana Bodrunova

Pin It on Pinterest