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Talisman

From "The Radiation Sonnets" by Jane Yolen (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill: 92 pp., $14.95)

October 19, 2003|Jane Yolen

The first time down, we saw him in the grass,

Flagged by the white breast, the broad brown wings.

Now we count on him each time we pass,

Our talisman, mascot. What luck he brings

We cannot know yet, not for weeks and weeks.

We must endure your sores, your aches, your pains,

Your quiet separation, your midday peaks,

And the guarded optimism at your gains.

What does the hawk mean? Nothing more

Than a buteo on the hunt in a field.

Yet each day if we don't see him before

Your radiation starts, we want to yield,

To turn around, run home, our journey done,

Our talisman fled, and all good luck gone.

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