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Prophet Bird
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Published: Wed Oct 15 1980
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Prophet Bird

“They found the earth mute and passionless and left.”

        —Frank O’Hara

Your legend is still green with us, and avid
To demonstrate how you once scaled a mountain
Of orange-crates and “knocked them down,” how simply
Lifting and lighting became the Promethean blaze. . . .
Now files of ants descend on their current
Windfall, gaining focus and perhaps a better grasp
Of the unlikely but all too portable whole,
Which you discarded in favor of newer stages,
Reluctant to lock up a plan next to its migrant
Double, the planetary warning, color of dried blood—
That impasse, too, was more than beginning
To dim and accept a kinder remnant of
Intention: the leaves turn when they fall.
We have our wishes for you still, the few
That find a rough-hewn, vine-covered lodging
For their chattels under the foothills near
Healing, variably heated springs. The ayes
And your hardly won singlings-out of praise
Befriend you for now, knowing you, enkindled
Early starling, first befriended them.

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