Magazine | September 2, 2013, Issue

Poetry

SPRING

My enemy had hatched her young,

Made real the heady boasts she’d sung,

And when I saw the cherished thing,

I vowed it would not fly or sing.

My talons tightened in its fluff.

Their points were digging deep enough

That blood and dung and shrieks sprang out –

This wasn’t what I’d thought about

All those weeks in my moldy hollow.

No, by all rights it didn’t follow

That, blood to blood, its heart, my pulse

Battered each other. It convulsed

Against no claws or hard joints now

But two plain, helpless hands. Yet how –

When, quickly as a lamp is lit,

It grew, then slashed and gouged and bit

Up in the harrow of the air –

Was I to take my prey back there?

I struck, I buckled. He might know,

Who hung, millennia ago

From nails like mine but did not leave

Even the predator to grieve.

But where was He? Nothing below

Appeared but damp trees, ragged snow,

Dead reeds — a dead end like a cave;

Like smoke, for all the light it gave.

My wings were shriveling, but I

Must make my way through that cold sky

To somewhere that could hardly be,

With what I’d taken into me.

Sarah Ruden is the author, most recently, of The Face of Water: A Translator on Beauty and Meaning in the Bible. She also has translated Augustine’s Confessions.

In This Issue

Articles

Features

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

How Nature Works

Our contemporary debates about evolution are basically an extension of the argument Christians have been having with one another since the Middle Ages, about how much autonomy God granted to ...
Politics & Policy

The Myth Maker

Lawrence of Arabia enjoys a prominent place in the mysterious and self-perpetuating realm of myth. This remarkable achievement has always depended on the impression he left of himself as both ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Letters

A Dissent on Dissenting I write in response to Arthur Herman’s article, “Sensitive SEALs,” in the August 5 National Review. I am a former U.S. Army Special Forces officer, and I agree ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Detroit is dead and al-Qaeda is alive. ‐ A group of conservative senators, most prominently including Ted Cruz, hopes to defund Obamacare by forcing a government-shutdown fight over a so-called ...
Athwart

Keep Off the Grass

A rodeo clown in Missouri has been banned from rodeo-clowning for the rest of his life because he wore an Obama mask and subjected our president to ridicule. Tough break; ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

SPRING My enemy had hatched her young, Made real the heady boasts she’d sung, And when I saw the cherished thing, I vowed it would not fly or sing. My talons tightened in its fluff. Their ...
Happy Warrior

The Blasphemy Police

In 2010, the bestselling atheist Richard Dawkins, in the “On Faith” section of the Washington Post, called the pope “a leering old villain in a frock” perfectly suited to “the ...

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Film & TV

A Sad Finale

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Politics & Policy

The Great Misdirection

The House Democrats are frustrated, very frustrated. They’ve gotten themselves entangled in procedural disputes with the Trump administration that no one particularly cares about and that might be litigated for a very long time. A Washington Post report over the weekend spelled out how stymied Democrats ... Read More
World

Australia’s Voters Reject Leftist Ideas

Hell hath no fury greater than left-wingers who lose an election in a surprise upset. Think Brexit in 2016. Think Trump’s victory the same year. Now add Australia. Conservative prime minister Scott Morrison shocked pollsters and pundits alike with his victory on Saturday, and the reaction has been brutal ... Read More
NR Webathon

We’ve Had Bill Barr’s Back

One of the more dismaying features of the national political debate lately is how casually and cynically Attorney General Bill Barr has been smeared. He is routinely compared to Roy Cohn on a cable-TV program that prides itself on assembling the most thoughtful and plugged-in political analysts and ... Read More