Poem: “Those Who Have No God”


Those Who Have No God

I saw a buzzard floating with its black wings outspread
To see along the alleys the living and the dead
Above the pale white city on a motionless March day –
What can the wind be thinking of, to blow and die away?

These are the prophet scavengers which gather and foretell
What nothing live can prophesy except the animal,
As when the birds of ocean stay because a storm at sea
Has worried them to find the land – that is no mystery

As when the Romans prophesied they looked to right and left
To see the flights of starlings, or the eagle from a cliff,
Or if the rooks had scattered from the acres of the grain,
Or if the geese of thunder came in winter and remained

Look to see the schools of fish rise up to find the white
Passage of the equinox, Selene in full flight,
And even in the city look to see the flight of birds,
Of God to those who have not Christ these are the very words

But those who know of Nazareth can hear the heart of Him
Beating in the tabernacle underneath the skin,
And when before the altar they genuflect and kneel
It is as if the birds of day had mounted up and wheeled

March 15, 2011


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