Animal Sanctuary – the song and the poem


River – songs from the poetry of Allison Grayhurst



The Poem:


Animal Sanctuary


He turns his hawk head

to view the shells of turtles streaking

the still-shroud of water in tanks

as blue as sky.


He lifts a leg and talons tensed,

pivots to defend against an enclosing shadow.


With whitish eyes and an impossible urge

to fly, he hops along his man-made perch toward

the cages where squirrels leap

from metal to wood, scattering like leaves

in unpredictable flurry.


He listens to the ducks’ lipless sounds.


Spring, he will never experience again, nor know

the scent of a pent-up life released like

sunflowers blooming, or the feel of the moon,

colder but more comforting than being touched.


He is without time or tribe,

and like fire, he haunts

by just being.



Copyright © 1998 by Allison Grayhurst



First published in “UC Review”, 1996/1997




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