Read Poem: Craning: a montage in three acts by Joanna Hannigan


Into the snow fly wild geese

Over trees stripped bare of bark

And leaves—a feather slivers free.

The white crane, austere and silent

At water’s edge—does not budge

It stands—passive and intense.

Into the past, where I and you were we

Concealed interiors, glass and steel visibility

Impervious to ardor and rage—I plunge.

The snow descends, worlds blur

I will not let you go—and turn

Eastward—into a biting embrace.

His Hymn

He held her sagging head—until the drunken retching stopped

He’d held it before—when the tooth was pulled, the D&C, bad news received

He stroked the damp hair; quieted sobs, then

moved from their bed to the couch in the den,

to the studio miles away, then out of state.

He worked hard—married again, mourned thinning hair, loss of another wife

He grew distant from friends—especially those who reminded him

Restored cars and bought a sail boat,

performed magic tricks for sick kids, took yearly trips

to the coast, and continued to vote.

He avoided college reunions—returned home only for weddings, deaths

He played tennis and racquetball, ate at the country club

Invested his money wisely, tried to laugh enough,

advanced, he suspected, because he didn’t give a damn

about research, going green, using four letter words.

They said he was a good man—few would disagree.

How she would loathe what he was and had become

How she disliked flat rituals and routine, memberships—comforting

And adored spontaneity, dinners in reverse, and snow white cranes

disciplined and solitary in their gaze, prone to migrate

to new sources of feed, retaining wisdom in their wings.

They said she was a flawed thing—only he disagreed.

He wasn’t a sentimental man—and sometimes woke to stop the dreams

He only played CDs and mix tapes—he’d never risk hearing her moody notes

Shunned zoos and parks, rivers and lakes—all inland water ways

until one day, he did what he would never have done

focusing on sky, lake, land—he stood at water’s edge.

He remembered all of her—damp hair, pale lips, shadows and curves

He wondered if silver replaced the mane of gold, if she still hummed those words

He reclaimed what for 30 years had been lost—her, him

he pleaded for a sign, then demanded—with raised fist

she be returned to him—he lifted his head, majestically

and craned.


The crane posed, leg bent, at water’s edge

Walking, I saw it—though the form

Could have been two—flurries of white at dusk.

Swiftly, limbs spread, it turned

Joyfully, feathers preened, unconcerned

Spinning zealously—with ardent intensity.

Into the twilight soared the bird

Merging until vague—until only dark remained

That was when I saw her.

The snow whirled, eyes blurred as

Human form turned into bird—winging

Westward—free of earth.

Poem by Joanna Hannigan, Creative Writer/Proposal Developer

Cailleach Bhur Caer, Loudon, TN 37774

About poetryfest

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This entry was posted in 2019 Poetry, new poetry, poet, poetry, Poetry Festival, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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