The Grizzly Den

Knowledge is Power

Get Your Poetry Here!

Posted by grizzlymedia on April 7, 2008

Poetry

Today’s Academy of American Poet’s submission is by Alan Shapiro. According to the Houghton Mifflin website, Alan Shapiro is the William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is the author of nine acclaimed books of poetry. He is a former recipient of the Kingsley Tufts Award and the Los Angeles Book Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He was recently elected as a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Today’s poem is from Old War, just published by Houghton Mifflin.

Just
by Alan Shapiro

after the downpour, in the early evening,
late sunlight glinting off the raindrops sliding
down the broad backs of the redbud leaves
beside the porch, beyond the railing, each leaf
bending and springing back and bending again
beneath the dripping,
between existences,
ecstatic, the souls grow mischievous, they break ranks,
swerve from the rigid V’s of their migration,
their iron destinies, down to the leaves
they flutter in among, rising and settling,
bodiless, but pretending to have bodies,

their weightlessness more weightless for the ruse,
their freedom freer, their as-ifs nearly not,
until the night falls like an order and
they rise on one vast wing that darkens down
the endless flyways into other bodies.

Nothing will make you less afraid.

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