So It Goes

By W. S. Di Piero b. 1945
That marsh hawk,
its blown-leaf flight
across Tomales Bay fog,
summer’s abraded light,
the Pacific tide pressuring
and squeezing wave on wave
into the bay’s pinched inlet. . .
We feel somehow between us
still water crushed by that sea,
so constant it seems not to be.
The hawk, a circus, tumbles,
stops, stands upon the air,
beats its wings as if to shoo
the sun’s drenched veils,
and its clapping wings stop
our unstoppable argument,
that love goes, who knows why,
and delivers us from pain
to pain, air with teeth
that seems to eat more air.  
Northern harrier, owl face,
they sea-changed your name,
who listens with your face
and shows not love but want,
speed, life in flight
toward, forever toward,
pausing at every chance
to use what ocean-born
bayside air sustains you
by resisting you. We thank
your sunken head bones
and wild close-to-water seeking
that somehow speaks to us,
           delivers us
                    to another amazed
                              agonized place.

Source: Poetry (April 2011).


This poem originally appeared in the April 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2011
 W. S. Di Piero


W.S. Di Piero was born in 1945 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and earned degrees from St. Joseph’s College and San Francisco State College. A poet, essayist, art critic, and translator, Di Piero has taught at institutions such as Northwestern University, Louisiana State University, and Stanford, where he is professor emeritus of English and on faculty in the prestigious Stegner Poetry Workshop. Elected to the American Academy of . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Animals

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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