Autumn Sky Poetry . . . Number 21 . . .

Poetics in the Season of Migration

     by James Owens

After fog, the sun unhitches geese

from the gleaned-over stubble-ground

where they have huddled through the night.

They rise now, clumsy, angling up

to blue, above the planet’s shade,

the mist and morning slurred with calls.

How apologize for poetry?

For how it fails the flock’s long pull

against the heaviness of Earth,

against wind, the mortal shear

of entropy that scatters form?

Their one, blared note sums up a year,

but words falter and trip, waste breath,

lose the smell of dirt or rain,

the wings once more climbing sunlight.

Such a long work, waiting to hear

that hard, scraping honk as song….

No longer clumsy, the geese order

and wheel, squared-off and cutting south,

stars intuited along the way,

written tight into their wedge, and gone.


James Owens lives in New Carlisle, IN and teaches writing at Purdue North Central University. Two books of his poems have been published: An Hour is the Doorway (Black Lawrence Press) and Frost Lights a Thin Flame (Mayapple Press). His poems, reviews, and translations have appeared widely in literary journals. He walks in the dunes along the southern shore of Lake Michigan and watches the waves and the gulls.


© 2011 James Owens