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December 21, 2016
Arts + Life
I saw the first cardinal this morning in the snow
outside my window at the feeder and was tempted
to call him my heart for his color, shape
and hunger, but no, not yet; rather, little red bandit
at home in the north where the sky conspires
with the cold to form a blue so deep you can see
straight through, where somehow the voles dig deep
enough to survive the frost and the fox grows thin
but lives on bones till March, where the deer eat cones
and bears digest themselves in the dark, where all
things live, in fact, with the fear that they might die
tonight from the terrible cold and lack, although
they have no word for it, only the songs they sing
we call the music of life. I watched the cardinal
devour seeds by the dozens and then fly off, no less
diminished, to grow hungry again in a matter of minutes.
To remain on the feeder for a couple of seconds
as a ghost of the bird that shames the winter.
The original print version of this article was headlined "December 10th"
Tags: Poetry, Winter Reading Issue, Chard deNiord, Poet Laureate
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