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Posted on Jun 19, 2013

Subtle Beauty | A Preview of Wild Life by Jamie K. Reaser

Subtle Beauty | A Preview of Wild Life by Jamie K. Reaser

A new preview of Wild Life: New and Selected Poems by Jamie K. Reaser. Fea­turing a fore­word by Edward E. Clark Jr.,  President of the Wildlife Center of Virginia. Hiraeth Press will be donating $2.00/book to sup­port theWCV’s envi­ron­mental edu­ca­tion and wildlife med­i­cine pro­grams! The release date will be June 28, 2013. Pre-​​order this book now exclusively in our bookstore.





I can respect beauty that



“See me!”


and recognize in it my own

innate desire to be noticed.


Blooming is about attraction,

and attraction is an

investment in everything

that is to unfold.


When I was a little girl,

I’d pick buttercups

because they were the

brightest, cheeriest flowers

in the seldom-mown grass.


That was some time ago.


As a woman,

I am drawn to beauty that

is more subtle,


Beauty that requires you

to really look to see a thing.


Beauty that whispers,


“Know me…”


And seeks to release us from

lingering fears of intimacy.


Today the beauty to which

I apprentice sits atop a

bloated carcass.


So many have called him

ugly and disgusting.


He’s been persecuted,

poisoned and shot

for his appearance and habits.


Where we look,


we see aspects of ourselves.


Already the blood has thickened

and the body stiffened,

and he has made the first

strategic tear in the tawny doe skin

that once held a spirit

close to the bones.


I gaze upon every inch of him:


The wrinkling of his bald, black head.

The delicate flare of unencumbered nostrils.

Feathers like pitch.

Scaled feet that remember the ancient

bloodlines and know that their place

is below broad, powerful wings.


His crop bulges, but he is not afraid

to be satiated,

and will join with others of his kind

to pick a body clean;


Sharp, nimble beaks and time

have enabled vultures to swallow

what others cannot.


And this is how it goes in these old fields:


This subtle beauty,


This dark angel on a mission,


escorting the dead,

piece by piece,

nutrient by nutrient,

into the ground

where all former lives

become caretakers of the living.


And this, to me, is beautiful.


Yes, it is true, I have found beauty


and, yes, of course, I shall go on looking for it.


I shall seek out beauty in all

the still hidden places,


All those places I have yet to

dare to go.


Though, yes, in truth,


I do already know:


It is there.


It is always there.



Image: Black Vulture Sketch, With permission from © Robert Lewis Caldwell;

Note: Poem dedicated to ‘Buttercup the Black Vulture’



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