Royal Albatross

Diomedea epomophora

Mythic as our hero returning from the Trojan siege,

The albatross glides in over Taiaroa Heads. A fine gadgetry of bone And sinew has worked him on the high winds

Of his travel, but now it’s the heart seeing

Him home. Poor Diomedes! Poor weary cuckold rudely shown

The door before he’d even unlaced the strings

Of his sandals, and he the King of Argos. We

Cannot bear this ending—turn the page on the scene of the grown Man crying, and begin again. The albatross glides in

Over Taiaroa Heads, over sand and dune and the seas

Long trouble rolling back behind him. The wind is a high chill moan In the sea-grass tussocky, where he becomes all listen

For her shrill and fluster in the glee

Of his return—her wander-love, klutzy land-man, her one-and-lonely. The hems of his great wings

Are brown-smudged and spattered, as if the journey

Was a road of mud and puddle, but she cares only that he has flown Back here. Vive Diomedea! we shout, and naming him

Name the ordinates of our being;

FaithHopeLove, these three the one true fix that fetches us home, Arms stretched cruciform as fletch and bone. 

Leave a Reply