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 CNN.com. 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”
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.
Thanks for reading, Pat. One thing about February is that it tends to be a popular birth month, coming as it does nine months after the merry month of May.
As Pat says, Dave. What a turnaround within this. Good, good.
Glad you thought so!
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.”
Well, if this made it with a true February-hater, I guess I must’ve done something right! Thanks, Carolee.
ICARUS DESCENDING: A DIRGE
(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.
—ALBERT B. CASUGA