Magpie Harm

They blind the lambs
these black and white birds,
traveling in pairs across the rain-dark lawn.
They’re dangerous and despicable,
argues my friend, recognizing
their cruelty year by year

as long as flocks have bred.
It is a cold day, a city
brittle with traffic.
Where is there a way
vehicle fumes and coal sweat
have not soiled?

Two of the birds are searching
the grass beyond the stretching
chestnut tree roots, twin
assassins in the late afternoon.
And I get ready to tell my companion that

these birds take no joy in destruction,
nor in the agony of the new-born.
They gather new-minted pennies and
dazzling buttons, isn’t that the legend?

Planning nests of treasures,
they wing across the iron land
each evening, disappointed
in the taste of blood.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

An explosive device was detonated outside the offices of the Mexican bishops' conference, directly across the street from the country's most visited religious site, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. walks from the Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017, as he steers the Senate toward a crucial vote on the Republican health care bill. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Republican proposals “exclude too many people, including immigrants,” Bishop Frank J. Dewane said in a statement.
Without quite knowing it, I had begun to rely on the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church.
Elizabeth BruenigJuly 25, 2017
A demonstration for affordable health care in New York City on July 13. Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Fla., chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, called on the Senate July 21 to fix problems with the Affordable Care Act in a more narrow way, rather than repeal it without an adequate replacement. (CNS photo/Andrew Gombert, EPA)
The sisters say that they are “most troubled by the cuts it would make to Medicaid by ending the Medicaid expansion and instituting a per capita cap [on spending].”