…what an enskyment; what a life after death.
                                                          – Robinson Jeffers (“Vulture”)

One never knows the vehicle of our transformation,
our transportation to nether or aether realms
dispatched perhaps on a buzzard’s back.

                         Jeffers feigning death
                         teased it close enough to be
                         eye-to-eye with a glorious ascension
                         upon black sails in the sea light
                         veering over his rugged,
                         coastal precipice.

On my boyhood, cow trail hunts
for squirrels and rattlesnakes,
I had in tow my wake of vultures
riding foothill thermals—Nature’s keen
garbage men keeping the earth clean—

                         I asked my father once,
                         ‘how could they find death
                         hidden in weeds
                         from so high up?’
                         ‘Perhaps,’ he said,
                         ‘it is their sense of smell.’


3 responses to “ENSKYMENT

  1. Lenore Brashear

    Why are humans so intrigued with vultures? Is it because they confront death, after the fact, so closely? They are not hunters in our usual way of thinking, but only hunt what other hunters before them have killed. They are indeed Mother Earth’s cleaners. If not for them our planet would be one big smelly garbage heap.
    I think I already sent you my Vulture poem. I do love to watch them swoop and float with the air drafts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Much of my life I saw them as deacons, gorged and perched around carrion, offering a sense of finality and transformation. Funny that buzzards and vultures are often the first birds we learn to draw in kindergarten as short-legged ‘m’s beyond our lollypop trees.


  2. And your dad was once again, right. ;o)


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