Single File (initial draft)

"The somber pages bore no print
Except the trace of burning stars
In the frosty heaven"
(Wallace Stevens)

They followed, single file
as if nature held its ring

tight and unforgiving;

and beauty, what it meant
that day,
would not survive.

For awhile, the hand holds
its gifts safe and grateful...

suddenly, the compromise-
released of value, life.

How many jewels are missing;
how many stars seized and shaken

from their well-earned sky?
How deeply will we mourn them?

1 comment:

Rachel Phillips said...

this was written about an aerial photograph taken by a wolf biologist- the pack of wolves that he had been studying suddenly set out on a journey single file through the snowy tundra (outside their territorial boundaries, which was unusual for them). Once they had reached some distance from their territory, the whole pack turned on one particular wolf and killed it; at which point, the whole pack turned around and walked single file back to their homeland. I felt a particular sense of grief for this unfortunate wolf and could not imagine what it had done to deserve such an ending. But it reminded me of our fragile existence and how we take for granted the individual beauty of our existence.