The feather didn’t fall from an angel’s wing.
A passing duck provided what we saw.
Adrift a moment on a sea of air,
It spiraled down and settled in the grass,
A single vane. It waited for a hand
To use the quill to print an ampersand
To join two wordy windows in one glass.
But wind came first, a shriek, a grassy blare
That swept the verdant field and left us raw,
No longer in the mood to chant or sing.
The feather, though loose barbules tried to cling
Against invisible power, but lacked a claw
And soared beyond all hope or mewling prayer.
We hid behind a stone and watched it pass,
Convinced that it could not return to land.
But far beyond us, on the shore, in sand,
A grounded mallard, which the gulls harassed,
And, in exhibiting its savoir faire,
Soared up and snatched within its billish craw
The missing feather, only next to fling
The lifeless object toward the quiet beach
Where seagulls walked and nodded, each to each.
Her veil, poorly concealing a veiling face,
Exposed a smile comprising irony,
And eyes so thickly painted, lids to cheeks,
That if she dropped the scrap of fabric hung
There as a mask I would not recognize
Her for the joy she brought to life. This prize,
For whom a thousand chapel bells have rung,
Is now regarded as a kind of freak
From whom the multitudes should try to flee.
But in her age she’s found herself a space
Wherein, to live, she needs but kneel and place
Memorial tribute to a fallen tree.
And thus, it’s on that ground that I would seek
Her true identity, that visage flung
Aside in dodging underneath the flies
That rise in swarms from casualties of sighs.
I’d bring to mind the anthem she’d once sung,
Its laughing lyrics that so richly speak
Of dancing days when we thought we lived free,
A song whose postlude was a soft embrace.
I’d do all this, until she lived once more,
A spring from winter’s ice to fatal shore.