Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Poets and Poems: Charles Wright’s “Caribou”

I started reading Charles Wright’s new collection of poem, Caribou, and immediately was reminded of something that happened 20 years ago.

I was on the board of the World Bird Sanctuary, an organization on the preservation of raptors (think birds like hawks, falcons, great horned owls, and eagles). We met monthly at different locations. One month we met at the ranger’s station at Lone Elk County Park in far western St. Louis County.

Our meeting began at 4 p.m. and spilled over into the evening hours. I had to leave at 7:30, and as I stepped outside to go to the parking lot. I instantly realized two things: it was pitch black, with no outside light; and I was in the middle of something large and alive.

I froze in place, not knowing what to do, until the ranger’s car appeared on the road and I could see by his headlights. I was in the middle of the elk herd, which liked to come down to the station at night to sleep. Some were already asleep; others were standing on the sidewalk, blocking the way to my car. The park, by the way, was misnamed. There was no lone elk; there was actually a herd of about 100 elk.

To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.

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