Malheur Before Dawn
— William Stafford
An owl sound wandered along the road with me,
I didn’t hear it–I breathed it into my ears..
Little ones at first, the stars retired,
leaving polished little circles on the sky for a while.
Then the sun began to shout from below the horizon.
Throngs of birds campaigned, their music a tent of sound.
From across a pond, out of the mist,
one drake made a V and said its name.
Some vast animal of air began to rouse
from the reeds and lean outward.
Frogs discovered their national anthem again.
I didn’t know a ditch could hold so much joy.
So magic a time it was that I was both brave and afraid.
Some day like this might save the world.