Navarre Scott Momaday

(February 27, 1934 / Lawton, Oklahoma)

Angle of Geese Poem by Navarre Scott Momaday


How shall we adorn
Recognition with our speech?—
Now the dead firstborn
Will lag in the wake of words.

Custom intervenes;
We are civil, something more:
More than language means,
The mute presence mulls and marks.

Almost of a mind,
We take measure of the loss;
I am slow to find
The mere margin of repose.

And one November
It was longer in the watch,
As if forever,
Of the huge ancestral goose.

So much symmetry!—
Like the pale angle of time
And eternity.
The great shape labored and fell.

Quit of hope and hurt,
It held a motionless gaze
Wide of time, alert,
On the dark distant flurry.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003
Edited: Monday, September 19, 2011

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