Wednesday, July 6, 2022




The heart is hunting alone and lean
after the things she thinks she has seen;
after meat on the doe not the sweetgrass sea
wind-combed in waves to wild-braided streams;
after the caterpillar's cuts and devours
not the greenstem-road to wings that it follows.

Her running breath catches at all the wrong times
at the taste of the dove, not the air it can climb.

The heart is hunting and so cannot fly
for that most alive is the thing which must die
too heavy to carry
too sought to let lie.
But when the hunt falters, breath evens and slows.
When the hunter suddenly unstrings her bow

what was looked for is seen in a stillness of light;
 shining like tears in the last hour of night.
 July 2022

posted for earthweal's
Images: Hunter, artist unknown, via internet   Fair Use
Woman in Grass, © Fosco Maraini, via internet Fair Use


  1. It what is hunted is wild and wildness is greatest in stillness, then observation is surfeit, gut lack a physical analog of spiritual desire. (The heart is mediatrix of such things.) The huntress becomes prey of arresting light. In rampant tetrameter, no less ... Great to see you at earthweal with something to say -- I feel hunted by iterations of the same haunted poem these days ... Fazed by the heat, I suppose. It penetrates everything. Be cool.

  2. I LOVE the "seagrass sea wind-combed in waves to wild-braided streams". What a perfect description of the wild shore. "...that most alive is the thing that must die" makes me sad, as that is the way humankind lives upon the earth we are destroying. Your closing couplet is absolute perfection. I admire this poem so much, Joy.

  3. that final couplet is all - the denouement of each striking image leading to it. the climbing first 3 verses, the pause and pivot in 4, the turn in 5 and its re-frame in 6 with its succinct and sorrowful wisdom, and then the exhale in 7 before the acceptance of that final frame. Such movement and tension, such clarity come from those cleansing tears. Good to read you again, Joy ~

  4. I love your imagery here, and the Diana-like huntress who haunts your poem.

  5. Speechless. This is so impeccably wrought. Just gorgeous.

  6. this is stunning, joy. indeed, the trees and the forest are not the same thing, (that may not be the goal of the poem, but's what i read) and so often, our passion, or our desperation, or whatever intensity that drives us, makes us blind to what we seek. this poem reminds me of the last chapter in herman hess's sidhartha. beautiful work here joy

  7. Phenomenal line: "at the taste of the dove, not the air it can climb." Brilliant, and I find that image at the center of this poem. There is more here I think than just the ending, the bow unstrung. Sure, that denouement is clear. But I feel the hunting moving through the earlier verses. Yes, meat on the doe, "for that most alive is the thing which must die" I think hangs the body and bleeds it out, as a hunter must.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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