February Third: Spring Has Many Hungers

Foamy banks of snowdrops bloomed,
under siege by honeybees. In the lawn
the purple splay of crocus, on the air
their honey scent.

Careful not to crush the stalks, I crept
across the turf to sniff. Saw a mating
pair of flies on satin petals, then withdrew.
Love deserves its distance, after all.

But the cat, no poet he, rolled among
the nuptial bower, the purple spears
of unborn blooms, the white, the mauve,
and put the coupled flies to flight.

That’s when I saw that spring
has more in mind than love: on top,
a shit-fly (as farmers call it);
underneath, a housefly.

Unbonded at their tender tips
(where flies make love and maggots)
they were joined up front instead,
mandible to mortal flesh.

The shit-fly had her by the neck,
sucking his love to a husk. Spring
has many hungers, and the ways
we feed them, in the end, are few.

 

 

 

Evensong

 
There are times I do love this city.
Coming out of the holiday book fair into the Park Blocks,
milling with the other authors in the vague rain.
And this great racket of crows! Caws,
rattles, churrs, and shrieks, all tumble
out of the black mass overhead.
Hundreds of crows,
gathering, circling, settling
into the tops of the plane trees, gossiping
with one another, catching up. Calling out
to the evening, to the damp sky,
so loud, so present, everyone is looking up:
the homeless, the hipsters,
and all these authors, their voices stilled.
One low sycamore leaf twirls on its stem
in the darkening breeze.

 

 

 

Robert Michael Pyle is a biologist and writer of essays, poetry, and fiction who resides in the Columbia Pacific sector of the Cascadian Subduction Zone. His 20 books include Wintergreen, The Thunder Tree, Mariposa Road, The Tangled Bank, and a 50-year prose retrospective, Through a Green Lens, coming from Oregon State University Press this year. These poems appear in his second full-length poetry collection, Chinook and Chanterelle, just published by Lost Horse Press.
 
Also in Terrain.org: two other poems by Robert Michael Pyle and an interview with Robert Michael Pyle by Holly J. Hughes.

Photo of crocus by Lucian Bolca, courtesy Shutterstock.

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