All poetry by Marina Richie

Questions for Raven Watchers

To the scientist climbing the tallest white pine in a Maine blizzard:
When five ravens rumbled by at eye-level. When your grip tightened
on the gusting mast, did you fly from your body?

To the two skiers shivering on a chairlift:
Goggles fogged, toes freezing, every breath a knife in your throat. Even so, did you clap your mittens at the barrel rolls of two ravens exulting in a storm? Or was your misery too great to notice?

To the wildlife photographer in Japan:
Did a black wingtip touch your cheek in blessing or curse? Did you answer the croaks and caws
in the language of Yatagarasu, messenger of the Gods? When you pushed click at the exact moment of passage, who was captured?

To the lone woman on top of Bessie Butte in Oregon:
When high winds whipped your hair, stole your voice, and cracked malaise in half like a split plum tree, did you quake in the quickening? Did the glide of held wings shear cumulonimbus clouds into a river of ephemeral light? What was it like to sprint through powdery snow mounded on bunchgrass to catch the last glimpse?

To the scientist, skier, photographer, and lone woman on top of Bessie Butte:
Who is Raven? Trickster. Light bringer. Change maker. Storm flyer. Ravenous.

Masahisa Fukase “Ravens” (Japan) 2017

i want

hair that is wild
tangling multi-hued
thick silky and oh so very
long and curly

i want to ride the fastest
carousel undizzied leaning out
to grasp the golden
ring for the next
go round

to play my flute
in duet with a canyon wren
sweet notes tumbling all the way
down the grand canyon

to be the flooding river
carving oxbows
braiding dreams
never the same

I want to rewind
the winding memories
every star

Harold Fisk “Map, Mississippi River Lower Meander Belt” (USA) 1944

Last Race
Arctic caribou plunge, snort, and flare nostrils
in a romping rampage crackling the sky
because their splayed hooves left the burning
tundra and the sunset quells
fiery antlers in a sea woven of lavender
mist from drifting duets of snow geese
passing perils one wingbeat at a time.
Their signal the green flash
before dark

Chiura Obata “Setting Sun of Sacramento Valley” (USA) 1922

Longing – a Cinquain poem

necklaces flung
across Sauvie Island
Pewter skies chorusing flying
Snow Geese

bones. White feathered
aerial pelotons
calling restless waves forming
Heart Beats

To fly
Lift heavy feet
Dream luminous full moon
magical metamorphosis
Free Fall

Snow geese overhead in December of 2022, Sauvie Island, Portland, Oregon. By Marina Richie


Open palms drum rainfall staccatoing

Downy Woodpecker tap tap tap

Dance of russet bass notes hovering

Belted Kingfisher a fling bling dive

Dazzle splashed joy rising up cascading

Dipper song a winter rainbow

Spray and crash a sonorous jazzing

Black-capped Chickadee dee dee dee

Alarm signal songbirds into cymbal clashing

Sharp-shinned Hawk hunger a taut guitar

String plucked too many times snapping

Pine Siskins into startled striped escape

Feather flight the muffled cry of yearning

Sharp-shinned hawk in our yard–by Marina Richie