Before Coffee

Feb 2, 2018

Today’s poem is “Before Coffee” by Michael Macklin, from his book Driftland

Michael was a carpenter by trade and a poet at heart. He died in 2012. He found his calling when he began work at Wayneflete School in Portland. While helping to preserve historic buildings he was also able to work with students on projects related to carpentry and poetry. In an interview in 1999 Michael said, “I think poetry is a lot about paying attention and noticing things most people don’t take the time to.”

Before Coffee
by Michael Macklin

Every morning the dark-robed crows
congregate in the pines at the edge of my yard,
sitting in small groups grumbling
until I step onto the lighted porch.

They grow quiet as monks,
cock their heads and mumble
perhaps in Latin
and we share an early prayer,
a magnificat for another day.

All winter we have met like this at dawn,
wind fluttering their black cassocks
as they peer down their noses
to view me at my lessons.

For a moment we inhale the crackling air
until they rattle with impatience, cackle
at my feeble attempts to see the face of God,
and the old men in the trees fly off.

Poem copyright © 2004 Michael Macklin.
Reprinted from Driftland,
Moonpie Press, 2004,
by permission of Donna Pendleton.