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Date(s) - 12/14/2018 - 12/20/2018
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And finally, a dark poem to help us laugh off the cold . . .

Crows in Winter

          by Anthony Hecht

Here’s a meeting

of morticians in our trees.

They agree in klaxon voices:

things are looking good.

The snowfields signify a landscape of clean skulls,

Seas of Tranquility

throughout the neighborhood.

Here’s a mined,

a graven wisdom,

a bituminous air.

The first cosmetic pinks

of dawn amuse them greatly.

They foresee the expansion of graveyards,

they talk real estate.

Cras, they say,

repeating a rumor

among the whitened branches.

And the wind, a voiceless thorn,

goes over the details,

making a soft promise

to take our breath away.

One of the leading poets of his generation, Anthony Hecht (1923 – 2004)  is known for his masterful use of traditional forms and linguistic control. Hecht used his experiences as a soldier in Europe during World War II; the often unsettling and horrific insights into the darkness of human nature told in limpid, flowing verse that characterize the poems in a 1967 collection, The Hard Hours, would become Hecht’s trademark. According to Dana Gioia: “Hecht exemplifies the paradox of great art. … He found a way to take his tragic sense of life and make it so beautiful that we have to pay attention to its painful truth.”

Note: The word cras has several meanings, including the Latin “tomorrow,” or “hereafter.” Or, of course, it could simply be a poetic way of translating the cawing of crows.