Another Sunday Morning

By Carter Revard b. 1931 Carter Revard
What I walked down to the highway for,
                                   through the summer dawn,
                                            was the Sunday funnies,
                     or so I thought—
                                      but what I remember reading there
                           in the shadowless light
                                               among meadowlarks singing
                     was tracks in the deep warm dust
                                           of the lane, where it parted
                                  with its beige dryness the meadow’s dew—
                    the sleek trail where a snake had crossed
                        and slid into tall grass;
                                                  the stippled parallels
                with marks between them where
                                                  a black blister-beetle had dragged
                                 its bulbous belly across
                      in search of weeds more green;
                                                              the labyrinth of lacelike
            dimples left by a speed-freak
                                        tiger-beetles’s sprints that ended
                                         where it took wing
                              with a little blur of dust-grains;
                                            and stepping through the beetle-trails,
         the wedge-heels and sharp-clawed hands of skunk-track
                              crossing unhurried and walking
                                       along the ditch to find
                                  an easy place for climbing;    
not far past that,
            a line of cat-prints running
                                               straight down the lane and ending
        with deep marks where it leaped
                                                  across the ditch to the meadow
                 for birds asleep or wandering baby rabbits:
and freshly placed this morning,
                                               the slender runes
                                      of bob-whites running, scuffles
                    of dustbaths taken—
                                        and there ahead
crouched low at the lane-edge
                                     under purple pokeweed-berries
                     four quail had seen me,
                    and when I walked slowly
                    on toward them, instead
                           of flying they ran
with a fluid scuttling
                                     on down the lane and stopped frozen
                                               till I came too close
               —then quietly when
                     I expected an explosion
         of wings they took off low and whispering
                and sailed, rocking and tilting
                                          out over the meadow’s tall bluestem,
             dropped down and were gone until
 I heard them whistling, down by the little pond,
                 and whistled back so sharply
               that when I got back to the  house
                  they still were answering
                   and one flew into the elm
                  and whistled from its shadows
                                                  up over the porch where I sat
       reading the funnies while the kittens
                         played with the headlines
                                         till when the first gold sunlight
                 tipped the elm’s leaves he flew
back out to the meadow and sank
                                   down into the sun-brilliant dew
                             on curving wings,
                and my brothers and sisters waked
                                           by the whistling came pouring out
       onto the porch and claimed their share
                                  of the Sunday funnies—
                     and I went on to read
           the headlines of World War Two,
with maps of the struggling armies leaving
                                            tank-tracks over the dunes of Libya
                            and the navies churning their wakes
                             of phosphorescence in the Coral Sea
                             where the ships went down on fire
                             and the waves bobbed and flamed
                          with the maimed survivors , screaming
                                  in Japanese or English until
                                  their gasoline-blistered heads
                                  sank down to the tiger sharks
                                   and the war was lost or won
                                 for children sitting in sunlight,
                                  believing their cause was just
                                 and knowing it would prevail,
                                   as the dew vanished away.

Carter Revard, “Another Sunday Morning” from How the Songs Come Down. Copyright © 2005 by Carter Revard. Reprinted by permission of Salt Publishing.

Source: How the Songs Come Down (Salt Publishing, 2005)

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Poet Carter Revard b. 1931

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Nature, Summer, Landscapes & Pastorals, Animals, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, War & Conflict

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Carter  Revard


Carter Revard grew up on the Osage Reservation in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. He is of Osage, Ponca, Irish, and Scotch-Irish heritage; in 1952 his grandmother gave him the Osage name Nompehwahteh (meaning “fear-inspiring”). Despite a difficult early life—he attended a one-room schoolhouse and worked odd jobs throughout his childhood—Revard eventually won a scholarship to the University of Tulsa through a radio quiz. He was one of the . . .

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SUBJECT Nature, Summer, Landscapes & Pastorals, Animals, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, War & Conflict

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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