Guest Poem by Sydney Lea

A former Pulitzer finalist and winner of the Poets’ Prize, Sydney Lea served as founding editor of New England Review and was Vermont’s Poet Laureate from 2011 to 2015. He is the author of 23 books, the latest Seen from All Sides: Lyric and Everyday Life, essays; fourteen of these volumes are poetry collections, the most recent of which is Here (Four Way Books, NYC, 2019). In 2021, he was presented with his home state of Vermont’s most prestigious artist’s distinction: the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.


4 August, 2020

We once longed to have bald eagles back.
And back they came, from poisons that doomed
so many over the years. At last,

they’re common again. This morning, I saw
two wrangle over a hatchling loon
in the crown of a pine. Their little war

shivered the boughs like earthquake. I figured
one had carried the prey to that tree.
I tried to look away. I didn’t,

but watched till they ripped apart the chick.
Each raptor took its portion away,
entrails hanging from the larger one’s grip

like snakes I’ve seen in such terrible talons.
Our crackly portable radio brings
a retrospect of the monstrous explosion

in Beirut, a year ago precisely:
reports of the dead, the homeless, the maimed.
I think – you don’t have to tell me how tritely –

I want the whole damned world to change.