Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

“Noah . . . sent forth a raven; and it went to and fro until
the waters were dried up from the earth”
”Genesis 8:6

He loosed the window latch
And then he loosened me,
My grim cavort
The first report,
Now made belatedly.

From gopher wood and thatch
I plied by eye and wing,
The ruffled weather,
Wave and feather,
Black from the sea winds fling.

Yet there was nothing there
But fountains of the deep
And heaven’s wells
Washing great swells
Of salt the drowning weep.

Then hunting everywhere
Below a rounding moon
I felt my screech
Grow Eden speech
We shared in that long noon

Whose fallen silent leaves
With Adam’s clacking bones
Are swept through seas
My singing frees
From brine’s dumb undertones.

And though a dove retrieves
From olives on the heights
Her leaf and lands
In Noah’s hands
To coo away wild frights

And though she be the high
Meek queen of that new realm
Of peace and love,
The Holy Dove
No flood will overwhelm,

By foaming star tides I
Still fly unsounded ground
That Noah’s sweat
Makes fertile yet,
This raven dark profound.