Second Empire, Richie Hofmann
Wading low through marsh and grass, quick and cautious, the crane, too, knows this: there is a freedom in submitting to another. Cranes mate for life. With necks outstretched, they take flight, a double-arrow’s stab of silver, released and then gone. I have searched for nourishment in you, like a long black beak in the earth. How was I to know what I would find there? Every night, we shrieked our presence to each other, desire or grief lacquering us onto our lives like birds on a panelled screen.
Richie Hofmann is a young American poet, influenced by Bishop, Merrill and Cole. But also, as we can see by the euphony and metaphor of the closing lines in the poem here, by Seamus Heaney. His close observance of the natural world, using the birds in the service of metaphor, phrases like 'there is a freedom/in submitting to another', the earthy language of wading, stab, released, earth, all point to empathy with Heaney's technique. As does the ability to separate form from formalism. A poet to watch.