Morning Crows in a Fresh Mown Field Before Rain

Michael Collier

Three in a group, then one coming from a distanceto make four dividing into two scavenging pairs.They waddle like ducks, dibble like robins.This close to the earth they have nothing to say.And yet as they bobble in a hands-behind-backcolloquy of feints and nods they are the ankle bootsof an idea gone missing, their laces threadedthrough eyelets but left untied, accountantsof random expenditures, connoisseursof the worm's catacomb of waste; they limp eastward,toward the mountains, covered in contractor bagcapes, one wiry boot then the other on the ground.If they would stay just where they are all morning,they'd be the monument to the history they're looking for.

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photo of Michael Collier
Photo:
Bergin O’Malley

Michael Collier’s most recent book is The Missing Mountain: New and Selected Poems (2021).He is a professor emeritus of English at the University of Maryland and a director emeritus of the Middlebury College Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences.

"Within the arc of this beautiful book, readers will find two sources of wonder: that Collier's gift for poetry was, from the beginning, complete, and that the poems have also found a way to deepen with each succeeding volume. What becomes of faith when its ceremonies are etched in the heart but its communities begin to falter? What becomes of kindness when its paths are strewn with grief? The quality of attention is everything in these pages: the missing mountain is the one we climb and, climbing, summon into being."
—Linda Gregerson, author of Prodigal

"In this superb collection, Collier occupies the rarified air of a particular lineage of American poets running from Frost and Meredith through Strand and Voigt. His work is that unmistakable, profound, and true. To manage such degrees of depth and peril requires a most scrupulous craft; and to wield such classical ironies—engagement met with the threat of effacement, a piercing wit sparking off an even more profound soulfulness—takes a poet of consummate skill, passion and wisdom. Collier is just such a poet."
—David Baker, author of Swift: New and Selected Poems

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