Evening Hawk

By Robert Penn Warren 1905–1989
From plane of light to plane, wings dipping through
Geometries and orchids that the sunset builds,
Out of the peak's black angularity of shadow, riding
The last tumultuous avalanche of
Light above pines and the guttural gorge,
The hawk comes.

                            His wing
Scythes down another day, his motion
Is that of the honed steel-edge, we hear
The crashless fall of stalks of Time.

The head of each stalk is heavy with the gold of our error.

Look!   Look!   he is climbing the last light
Who knows neither Time nor error, and under
Whose eye, unforgiving, the world, unforgiven, swings
Into shadow.

                     Long now,
The last thrush is still, the last bat
Now cruises in his sharp hieroglyphics. His wisdom
Is ancient, too, and immense.   The star
Is steady, like Plato, over the mountain.

If there were no wind we might, we think, hear
The earth grind on its axis, or history
Drip in darkness like a leaking pipe in the cellar.

Copyright © 1985 by Robert Penn Warren.

Source: From New and Selected Poems 1923-1985 (1985)

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Poet Robert Penn Warren 1905–1989

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

 Robert Penn Warren

Biography

Described by Newsweek reviewer Annalyn Swan as "America's dean of letters and, in all but name, poet laureate," Robert Penn Warren was among the last surviving members of a major literary movement that emerged in the South shortly after World War I. A distinguished poet, novelist, critic, and teacher, he won virtually every major award given to writers in the United States and was the only person to receive a Pulitzer Prize in . . .

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POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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