Poetry | Eagle on Granite Boulder at Dusk by John Kinsella

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The following piece is from our August/September 2011 issue.

John Kinsella


Eagle on Granite Boulder at Dusk


Here
has an infinite capacity to astound

Or I have the infinite capacity to be astounded.
It’s like remembering all the Latin you learnt
And forgot, but better. Trudging up the hill
In the cold dusk, gravel odd beneath my boots,
Slipping in an unfamiliar way because of a change
In the weather, I know I am being watched,
Sacrificed to the great eagle on the orange-rust
Boulder just below the crest of the range’s edge.
It knows itself silhouette, though the sun crashed
And vestiges snarl around hills and wandoos
To the west. Eagles always look bigger close up
(As they might think of ‘us‘?), their beaks and talons
Devastating, but this was huge: it’s largeness,
Potential, from a human perspective, compelling
The only apt and genuine use of ‘awe’
I know. Stand-off, or only on my part, thought
Its weighing-up is pragmatic, and its choice
To fall on wings and lift to darkness
Coming down on us so rapidly, statement
Of intent. You think eagle does nothing
For the hell of it, but maybe it does. I will
Never write that script. And in its caress and lash
Of dark air, a wingspan my body length
And half again, distends my ideas of what
Makes flight, and what use it is put to. Utility
And sublimity wresting the moment away,
I stare where the eagle perched (dark sheen)
And at the shade of its flight path, and where
It vanished; compositor, printer’s devil
Feeding type into the press of night:
The Latin for ‘day’ looks like death. 


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