2010 Poetry Challenge

National Poetry Month

John Willowdown


Birdman with drops of rain in your feathers like jewels,
I might think you are beautiful if not for the
specks of blood and mucous and semen on your beak
- even so I am almost taken in by your fabbulous tales
and the wild glitter of your eyes.
I do not doubt you are a great warrior
and an excellent father to your children;
but for all your quasi kinship with the angels of the upper air
there is still more than a little of the beast about you
and a reek of poisonous sulphur.
Of what do you dream as you navigate the gaseous atmosphere;
what prayers do you offer to strange and aloof gods
when you plunge from on high to sink your talons
into some young eagle's neck
or casually tear the throat from an owl or small sheep
- do you sometimes yearn for man-flesh?
Rainbow plumaged bird,
cousin of Quetzalcoatyl,
feathered serpent of the air,
what sweet lies do you tell your mate
in your high, cerulean lair
where Lucifer is still falling
and all the rising dreams of men lament
the eternal passing of small things?

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