I saw the hawk ride updraft in the sunset over Wyoming. It rose from coniferous darkness, past gray jags Of mercilessness, past whiteness, into the gloaming Of dream-spectral light above the lazy purity of snow-snags. There—west—were the Tetons. Snow-peaks would soon be In dark profile to break constellations. Beyond what height Hangs now the black speck? Beyond what range will gold eyes see New ranges rise to mark a last scrawl of light? Or, having tasted that atmosphere's thinness, does it Hang motionless in dying vision before It knows it will accept the mortal limit, And swing into the great circular downwardness that will restore The breath of earth? Of rock? Of rot? Of other such Items, and the darkness of whatever dream we clutch?
From New and Selected Poems 1923-1985 by Robert Penn Warren, published by Random House. Copyright © 1985 by Robert Penn Warren. Used by permission of William Morris Agency, Inc., on behalf of the author.