how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
Gerard Manley Hopkins, "The Windhover"
Overhead a raven circles,
drawn from the forest by the low tide.
I know this is not your majestic falcon
caught in a rush of air,
just a dirty pond and a low flying crow.
You were twenty-four when you tossed
every poem into the fire
evidence burning in a church hearth.
You claimed it was for God,
this slaughter of the innocents.
That night words leapt into smoke
and you gave yourself to faith.
But I need to write myself onto the page,
to press against another man's flesh
until our bodies are seared together,
to document our lives.
I follow the raven down the shore;
fragments of glass, driftwood and kelp,
all return to the sway of the sea.
(Originally published in Barrow Street, 2007)