The Angel of February

A gray feather floats down & lands on the snow as if from the angel of February. There’s a yellow spot in the otherwise gray sky that might be the sun. A sharp-shinned hawk appears from behind the house & alights in the lowest limb of the big maple. The small birds ignore it. It takes off through the trees, wings scissoring the air. A chickadee sings its spring song. Hawk, I say, thanks for being a hawk & not an angel. But we are not out of the woods yet. Invisible dead rest in neglected graves, reads the headline at Some of the graves were only marked by spoons, & the gray angels were busy tending, let’s say, the factories of grief. February is a hard month. If only the juncos were invisible, they too could rest.

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

8 Replies to “The Angel of February”

  1. Love how this captures the hope of spring then turns deadly serious at the end. A hard month, indeed. My Ozark mother used to say, “February has only 28 day because mother nature knows we can’t stand two more”.

    I am loving your blog.


  2. i think all the world knows how i feel about february. but i love this february poem. and this especially: “thanks for being a hawk & not an angel. But we are not out of the woods yet.”


    (For the Fallen Freedom Fighters of People Power in Manila, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Tunisia, Iraq and elsewhere.)

    Even these gray skies are not spared
    the mayhem plotted by the mighty:
    somewhere among the prickly branches
    dangles the mangled carrion of a junco
    who must have tried to fly higher
    than it should and caught the eye
    of the sharp-shinned hawk now wiping
    its after-breakfast beak atop the bald
    maple tree as a gray breast feather
    floats down and lands on snow.

    Icarus will not –cannot–fly to the sun.

    There will be hordes of sparrows
    perched sentry-like on those branches
    before their trembling twigs break
    into a camouflage of leaves and flowers.
    That gnarled maple will loom gray with
    twittering kins of that quartered prey
    and there will be a cacophony of calls
    before perching sundown songs are sung.
    Not quite a reveille at sunrise, a screech
    of a battlecry echoes in the wakened hills:

    Icarus, Icarus, do not fly to sun!

    The predator has arrived for the hunt,
    glides into the maple top rather regally
    while the sparrows swarm for the kill
    before the sharp-shinned hawk alights.
    A stained black breast feather floats
    amid the strangest banshee of triumph:

    Icarus rises, screams, then plummets.

    Mississauga, 02-27-11

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