Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE IDEA OF BALANCE IS TO BE FOUND IN HERONS AND LOONS, by JAMES HARRISON



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THE IDEA OF BALANCE IS TO BE FOUND IN HERONS AND LOONS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I just heard a loon call on a t.V. Ad
Last Line: Within their breasts.
Alternate Author Name(s): Harrison, Jim
Subject(s): Environment; Nature; Solitude; Environmental Protection; Ecology; Conservation; Loneliness


I just heard a loon-call on a TV ad
and my body gave itself
a quite voluntary shudder,
as in the night in East Africa
I heard the immense barking cough
of a lion, so foreign and indifferent.

But the lion drifts away
and the loon stays close,
calling, as she did in my childhood,
in the cold rain a song
that tells the world of men
to keep its distance.

It isn't the signal of another life
or the reminder of anything
except her call: still,
at this quiet point past midnight
the rain is the same rain
that fell so long ago, and the loon
says I'm seven years old again.

At the far ends of the lake
where no one lives or visits --
there are no roads to get there;
you take the watercourse way,
the quiet drip and drizzle
of oars, slight squeak of oarlock,
the bare feet can feel the cold water
move beneath the old wood boat.

At one end the lordly great blue herons
nest at the top of the white pine;
at the other end the loons,
just after daylight in cream-colored mist,
drifting with wails that begin as querulous,
rising then into the spheres in volume,
with lost or doomed angels imprisoned
within their breasts.





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