The Innisfree Poetry Journal

by Anne Harding Woodworth


Through glass and mullions,
beside a sash of weights and ropes,
I see a cloud, a gauze of air
before it rises from the woods.
I think I see the crows,
phantom-wooers sweeping now
between the dark-veiled oaks
that leafless float their limbs.
Is this a trick of eye, trompe-l'oeil,
this looking into blurring fog
that separates--no, more, that segregates--
the languages and hemispheres?
Or are there really crows and oaks?
And do I really hear the harsh and ligneous sounds?
Is anyone out there watching me
beside this sash of weights and ropes?
No certainty of counterpoise
on either side of transparency.


Vines move among diamonds anodized,
choke each other at times,
at times form the phalanx as if to barricade and rub,
as if to create heat that never ignites
because the smell of honeysuckle keeps moist and cool
the place where shadows do not warn
but hint at patterns of ill will,
and there's our itching, pain, and red the welts.
Ringed raccoons finger trash lids,
cause trauma to the crow poor crow,
who warns his own kind
of intrusion and stranglehold.


                                                            Brampton, Cumbria

Her thoughts, of sky, of the stretch
of her wings, the sheen of her feathers--
she flies without boundaries into the closed window.

Her thought, not of flopping
at the base of transparency on frozen lawn,
as if obstacles could not possibly interrupt
the swift and the free on a flight path--

like the Lancaster bomber that crashed in '43
on the same lawn.  Jesus Christ, we're going down!
And all five of the king's men died.

Her thoughts, not of human hands,
not of a shoe box or machine-harvested seed,
not of liquid coming at her in a dropper.

"Her neck is not broken, thank God."
Her thought, of how to get away
from the voices.  Am I hearing voices?
she wonders in the shoebox dark.

"Eat, eat."  Or is that birdsong?
"Drink, and you will live to fly again."
The dropper invades her beak--
as good as a pint of ale at the pub.


He eyes me from a lifeless branch,
musters all his cronies in the forest.

"She's coming, wingless raptor's here!" he calls.
"Get to your stations, you black birds!"

I understand the language, but don't speak it,
cannot write it, do not read it.  But I hear its cough,

black heaves in trees, in air in flight and meanings clear.
He urgently announces that I'm hawk, hawk, hawk,

without the decency of wings--an enemy that makes
the crows swing circular in anger and in boisterous hate.

I have no crow words to pacify,
to soothe his fellow-passerines.

No song to sing.  Wingless
has no bite, no feet with which to perch.

Copyright 2006-7 by Cook Communication