The Gray’s Poem

by Richard Yatzeck

Curse and confound us for clock watchers and cash counters

Take this morning afield, hot young haste with the hunters,

horns, bugling hounds, granite ridge.

Here in tag alder and ash, dewfall can drench and delight us,

the cutting and candid air, ever green, new and nitrous,

strike us with freshly ground edge.

Birthing bore us for this: the stoop, the full-feathered arrival,

not for the blind stall; the steer’s night of denial,

not for the ox yoke.

These are eternally right: the urgent, life-seeking and feral.

While they are vital the buck bounds affirmed, fierce and vernal,

straight for the death-sealing stroke.

*R. Yatzeck after Rainer Maria Rilke’s Vollmacht

Richard Yatzeck teaches Russian at Lawrence University in Wisconsin. He has published Hunting the Edges, a collection of stories, and Russia in Private, a memoir.