Eagle Affirmation

By John Kinsella b. 1963 John Kinsella
You’ve got to understand that sighting the pair
of eagles over the block, right over our house,
not more than twenty feet above the roof,
so massive their wings pull at the corrugated
tin sheeting even with gentlest tilt, counteracts
bitterness against all the damage I see and hear
around me on an exclusively crisp blue morning,
when clarity is pain and even one small missing
wattle tree, entirely vanquished since I was last here
at home—I still find this hard to say—is agony;
a region is not a pinpoint and a different compass
works in my head, having magnetics for all
directions and all pointing to one spot
I know and observe as closely as possible;
and even one small vanished or vanquished
wattle tree is agony close to death for me,
where I find it hard to breathe to feed myself
to get past the loss; but the pair of eagles
still appearing and keeping their sharp
and scrupulous eyes honed, overrides
this ordeal, though I wish their victims
life too and their damage is traumatic
as anything else; that’s as much sense
or nonsense as I can make in such blue light.

Source: Poetry (May 2010).


This poem originally appeared in the May 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

May 2010
 John  Kinsella


Australian John Kinsella has written over 20 books of poetry, as well as plays and fiction; he also maintains an active literary career as a teacher and editor. Kinsella’s poetry is both experimental and pastoral, featuring the landscape of Western Australia. Paul Kane observed in World Literature Today, “In Kinsella’s poetry these are lands marked by isolation and mundane violence and by a terrible transcendent beauty.” His The . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Trees & Flowers, Animals

POET’S REGION Australia and Pacific

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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