|click to enlarge|
This handsome woodpecker lost his bearings
and crashed into the French doors at the manor this afternoon.
Earth itself unravels him from beneath --
His submission is flawless.
Blueflies lift off his beauty.
Beetles and ants officiate.
Pestering him with instructions.
His patience grows only more vast.
His eyes darken bolder in their vigil
as the chapel crumbles.
His spine survives its religion,
The tests moulder --
The quaint courtly language
of wingbones and talons.
Nothing remains of the warrior but his weapons
And his gaze.
Blades, shafts, unstrung bows -- and the skull's beauty
Wrapped in the rags of his banner.
He is himself his banner and its rags.
While hour by hour the sun
Deepens its revelation.
from The Knight
by Ted Hughes