Malheur Before Dawn


Malheur at Dawn An owl sound wandered along the road with me. I didn’t hear it—I breathed it into my ears.

Little ones at first, the stars retired, leaving polished little circles on the sky for a while.

Then the sun began to shout from below the horizon. Throngs of birds campaigned, their music a tent of sound.

From across a pond, out of the mist, one drake made a V and said its name.

Some vast animal of sound began to rouse from the reeds and lean outward.

Frogs discovered their national anthem again. I didn’t know a ditch could hold so much joy.

So magic a time it was that I was both brave and afraid. Some day like this might save the world.

(c) William Stafford

  • Tell of a time when you awoke at dawn and heard the world awakening.
  • Have you ever experienced that sense of being both brave and afraid while in nature? What was that experience for you? How does it help you to live your life?.
  • Begin a poem or prose piece with the words, "Some day like this might save the world."
  • FYI: Malheur is a National Park in Oregon.