I. The Dove of Hope
After forty days Noah opened the window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. But the dove could find no place to set its feet because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark.Genesis 8:6-9a
lowers, skims, parts, foams,
the boat bumping the dropping surface.
Curses to the flood after days and nights
spitting back the flesh and bones
of our friends without sound.
One day daylight zapped
the ancient tomb after an age of stuffy howls:
What sights, what feelings, what
sounds, what smells.
The sable raven,
the fair fowl, scoured the watery land
without a caw of contentment.
Therefore the dove,
white as their reclusive faces,
said, I will soar
and seek a
He viewed the water-crossed circle,
this domed and submerged miracle,
and brown-green weeds wafted to the surface.
Behold his empty hands
in a time of empty lands.
What did you see,
what, little dove, when we sent you forth?
The fowl who invited himself into the uninviting world,
do not despair, life is not forgotten.
The waters roar, the earth shakes,
the sky blurs with steam-borne lakes,
and the dove,
he is the dove of hope.
II. The Dove of Salvation
When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth.Genesis 8:11
The water sounds like a receding end,
sinking in parts,
frazzled and flailing like feathers
with hollow bones.
I, the dove,
hearken to the end,
lowering myself into the never parting,
always beating wave’s brown eyes.
bump the half-drowned hills
with their sopping tops gasping for air.
hearken to the branch of hope
on the stark tree
in the brown waves and
My feathers dance.
I will bear salvation in the evening.
We see salvation in
the mountains and in the branches
and brown valleys,
in all the gray-green earth.
The waters recede, the earth subsides,
the sky shines with star-lit guides,
and I, the dove,
I am the dove of salvation.