Richard Levine, a retired teacher and Working Families Party activist, is the author of A Tide of a Hundred Mountains, That Country’s SoulA Language Full of Wars and Songs, Snapshots from a Battle, and most recently The Cadence of Mercy, from Finishing Line Press.

Richard will be the featured poet at Poets Speak Loud on Monday, April 27 2015.

The Cadence of Mercy

… we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.  – William Shakespeare 

The deer hit and dragged by a truck
will not find the comfort of the pine needle quilt
where she slept last night with her fawns.
Flies inhabit a haunch, gouged to shattered bone,
before she can put weight on her good
back leg to haul herself into a meadow,
where I see her and come striding through wet
grass and a dusk-gray drizzle, with the single shot
cadence of mercy.  I thought the story had but one
more chapter, scooping her limpness up
in a tractor bucket and dumping it in the woods
for coyotes.  But all through the house
and the night, and the heavier, steadier rain,
her fawns’ hungry cries called to my own.

 

Out of Light’s Reach

Growing up, the Holocaust
was always on the edge,
a wind stirring the fringe
suspended from prayer shawls,

or the eyes of wolves
in Jack London stories,
where prospectors huddled
close to a dying fire

with the hungry breath
and glowing desperation
of a nightmare waiting
just out of light’s reach.