Magazine | September 2, 2013, Issue



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



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 ...


Politics & Policy


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 ...

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


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 ...

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Pelosi’s House of Pain

Not so long ago — as recently as the cover of the March 2019 Rolling Stone, in fact — they seemed like the best of friends. I'm referring to Nancy Pelosi and the members of "The Squad": Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and (not pictured) Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley. They shared some good ... Read More

Gender Dissenter Gets Fired

Allan M. Josephson is a distinguished psychiatrist who, since 2003, has transformed the division of child and adolescent psychiatry and psychology at the University of Louisville from a struggling department to a nationally acclaimed program. In the fall of 2017 he appeared on a panel at the Heritage Foundation ... Read More
Film & TV

How Seinfeld Mastered the Comedy Domain

I can’t say whether Larry Charles, Larry David, Alec Berg, Spike Feresten, and the rest of the brilliant writers of Seinfeld were students of F. Scott Fitzgerald, but they might as well have been. Fitzgerald supplied the best advice for sitcom writers: Start with an individual, and before you know it you find ... Read More