Nebraska Center for Writers

by Catherine Le Master Eckrich

Winter birds upon a winter bough!
I think I know what message you bring,
Who hopes to stay me now,
I, long bereft of any feathered thing,
Of any joy that soars on any wing!
For if you say, then this bright reckoning,
Now dialed in sun on snow,
Foretells the lark, and the one more burgeoning:
O chickadees, I know
You are yourselves a covenant with spring,
You selves the feathered promises you sing!

Reprinted with permission
from Prairie Schooner
Summer 1953
Copyright © 1953
by Catherine Le Master Eckrich


by Catherine Le Master Eckrich

Never tell him you have seen
A vision, here between
These ice-bowed branches and the moon.
He would as soon
Laugh you down — call you mad,
Say you had
Been touched by witches’ wine —
That your seeing was a sign

Of aberration. Let him go — let him go —
Never telling what you know.

Never tell him you have stood
At night, blinded in this wood.
Let him see what he can see,
The barn — the ice-coat on this tree,
The roof’s gable, triangular, obtuse,
The square on its hypotenuse;
Point out to him the thin white line
The frozen river shows, the scaled design
In a crystal fallen on his sleeve.
These are easy to believe.

Lead him slowly — slowly so —
Never telling what you know.

Reprinted with permission
from Never Tell the Vision
Copyright © 1951
by Catherine Le Master Eckrich

by Catherine Le Master Eckrich

Judge not the owl as master, cause
Of this vile death clamped in his claws.
An owl is nothing if not laws.
Scorn not the fox. As Owl, he too
Has racial duties he must do,
And is unto his law most true.
Yet there is that turns blood to curd
When through night’s Order rips the word
That Law has pounced upon a bird.

Reprinted with permission
from Poetry
Vol 140, No 1, April 1982, p 27
Copyright © 1982
by Catherine Le Master Eckrich

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