Poem: ‘Weeping Birds’

In his career spanning five decades, Jim Harrison found extraordinary ways to explore our intimate connections with nature—as he does in this short and moving piece.

jim harrison, poem, weeping birds
Joe Ciardiello

Mid-morning in mid-March.
The mournful doves everywhere
singing desire or sadness I don’t know which,
and the even more doleful grey hawk
at which all birds fall silent because of fear.
It chases away vultures, ravens, red-tail hawks.
The grey hawk wants all of the creek
land to sing the deaths of a hundred Irish poets
all by itself, this spring dirge
that haunts we humans by daylight.
So endlessly dolorous, this sweet death.•

© 2021 James T. Harrison Trust. Excerpted from Jim Harrison: Complete Poems, forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press on October 26, 2021.

This poem appears in the Fall 2021 issue of Alta Journal.

Jim Harrison (1937–2016) was the bestselling author of nearly 40 books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Poetry