Mother Carey's Hen

By David Yezzi David Yezzi
There are days I don’t think about the sea;
             weeks wash by in fact,
then a shearwater—or some such—flutters by
on the salt flats fanning out in my mind’s eye,
reflected there, a shimmering reverie,
                            recalling the pact
I once made (and renew today) to hold
             to a higher altitude.
But note the difference between this bird
and me: a slight disruption or harsh word
and I crash, folded seaward, letting cold
                            life intrude;
whereas the petrel, mindless of such height,
             scales each watery hill
that rises up, adapting to the shape
of each impediment, each low escape
instinct in it, the scope of its flight
                            fitted to its will.

Source: Poetry (May 2005).


This poem originally appeared in the May 2005 issue of Poetry magazine

May 2005
 David  Yezzi


David Yezzi’s poetry collections include Azores (2008) and The Hidden Model (2003), and his criticism and poetry have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, and Best American Poetry. A former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, Yezzi is Executive Editor of The New Criterion. He has also edited The Swallow Anthology of New American Poetry (2009). His libretto for a chamber opera by composer David . . .

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SUBJECT Nature, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Animals

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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