Wednesday, December 15

Vocatus atque Non Vocatus

Before life was there a world?
When we take our life away, will fear
be anywhere -- the cold? the wind? those noises
darkness tries? We'll take fear
with us. It rides the vast night
carried in our breast. Then, everywhere --
nothing? -- the way it was again?

Across a desert, beyond storms
and waiting, air began to make
a wing, first leather stretched on bone
extended outward, shadow-quiet,
then whispering feathers lapped against
each other, and last the air itself,
life taken back, a knife of nothing.

There was a call one night, and a call
back. It made a song. All
the birds waited -- the sound they tried for
now over, and the turning of the world
going on in silence. Behind what happens
there is that stillness, the wings that wait,
the things to try, the wondering, the music.

-- William Stafford