Two books of James Owens’s poems have been published: An Hour is the Doorway (Black Lawrence Press) and Frost Lights a Thin Flame (Mayapple Press). His poems, reviews, translations, and photographs have appeared widely in literary journals, including recent or upcoming publications in The Cortland Review, Poetry Ireland, The Stinging Fly, The Cresset, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. He has an MFA from the University of Alabama and lives in central Indiana and northern Ontario.
Love Poem for this Morning’s Raven on the Leafless Walnut Branch
It is stunning enough that the world makes a raven,
incomprehensible that it makes this raven, with the broken
feather at the edge of its left wing,
the little gargling hitch halfway through its call.
Why caress the unique so hotly? The idea “raven”
may be necessary to complete the cosmos,
but why this bewildering specificity, each
raven a singular, night-colored pivot for the sky,
each a black keyhole slit in the air, where we
fall through a raven’s eyes and fade?
This is how we know the world is poetry, not philosophy.
If philosophy were the world, it would say “raven” once
and be still,
but since the world is poetry, it repeats
“this raven” infinitely, lingering, sensuous, over
the small particulars of plume and beak and sheen.