Summer 1945 • Vol. VII No. 3 Poetry |

Losses

Bird of the spray, the tree of bones:The tendrils shower you with dew, the smellsOf petals patter in the holes of bone(The yellow nostrils feathered with a barThat stripes, like blood, your ragged wings);But the harsh, stopped sounds, the iron of your life,Rust in the rains of autumn; and the driftsEntomb, at last, the small nest where a skullFlimsier than an egg, a drumstick like a strawLie like the crushed works of a watch: your child.When the roofs rise to you, and last year’s limbHolds a cone to your beak, and you hang hammering,Does the down pulse still, an aching ball,In your sleek, beaked, uncertain skull?Has no crushed seed, from that stony crop,Sprung narrowly to life, the world-enfolding treeBeneath whose boughs the child’s ghost sleeps?

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Randall Jarrell was a poet, critic, and literary essayist. From 1937 to 1939 he taught at Kenyon College, where he met John Crowe Ransom and Robert Lowell.

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Bird of the spray, the tree of bones:The tendrils shower you with dew, the smellsOf petals patter in the holes of bone(The yellow nostrils feathered with a barThat stripes, like […]

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