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The Author

Poetic Responses to Psalms and Scripture




Then he. . . sent out the dove; and it did not return to him any more.


                                        Genesis 8:12




Escaping criss-crossing children, the packing of lunches,

I slip upstairs to the bathroom and shut the door.

Out the south facing window a figure falls from a high pine,

dropping into the wind as if into a hammock,

wings still as the ground but its whole being in flight.

The red-tailed hawk lifts across the pond, as effortlessly

as it began, then alights, grasping the pinnacle of a cedar tree.

Instantly another bird of prey swoops from within the woods

into a great circle over the water—looking, looking—

our pond grey as the overcast morning.

How do these birds pierce the underworld for signs,

then lance at evidence of snakes and fish?

Talons empty this time, great rusty wings beat

to the tree where the first hawk began.  Closer to me,

a house finch flits suddenly past the glass.

It’s a great day for birds, I sigh, standing,

my eyes tracking all these movements up and down

in this bowl of earth called, “my yard.”

Downstairs again I stand on the path, watch my children

and husband shuttle to the car with lunchboxes swinging,

their feet magnetically wed to the ground.

Then facing the house (where papers lay in disorderly stacks,

like fog, over the kitchen table), I spy the blue-grey bolt

of a heron.  Its arrow body steers over us,

another bird determined to arrive

where it knows it is going.

-- By:  Ms. Karen Jessee, OP - - a member of the Dominican Laity, St. Mary Magdelene Group in Raleigh, NC.  She writes and teaches, living with her husband and children near Chapel Hill, North Carolina.


Face to Face Archive

Please click on a Title below for Karen's "Prayer Poems":
(The newest ones are listed first.)

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