Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

"The Dipper In Winter"

Animal Time, poems by Greg Pape

Not Ursa Major, whose outer edge
points at Polaris, our North Star,
or the seven sisters of the Pleiades,
the six daughters of Atlas who shine
dark nights for the one who is lost,
but the little slate-black river bird
always rocking and bobbing
to an inner music at the edges
of ice, slick stone and cold water.
The one who flies low and goes
down under the surface to see
what the fish and the water spirits see,
down in the current where sun
and stars stream and smooth
the hard edges, regrets and fears,
all those amny-colored flamingoes
of time and desire asleep
in their watery feathers. Cheers,
she says, and bobs and dips and

The Write Question blog
The Write Question on Facebook
The Write Question podcast

About the Author:

Greg Pape is the author of nine books, including Border Crossings, Black Branches, Storm Pattern (all originally published by University of Pittsburgh Press), Sunflower Facing the Sun (winner of the Edwin Ford Piper Prize – now called the Iowa Prize – and published by University of Iowa Press), American Flamingo (winner of a Crab Orchard Open Competition Award, and published by Southern Illinois University Press), and Four Swans (published by Lynx House Press)

His poems have been published widely in such magazines and literary reviews as The Atlantic, Iowa Review, The New Yorker, Northwest Review, and Poetry. He has received the Discovery / The Nation Award, two National Endowment for the Arts Individual Fellowships, the Pushcart Prize, the Richard Hugo Memorial Poetry Award, and his poems have been featured on NPR and read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac. He teaches at the University of Montana, and in the Brief-Residency MFA program at Spalding University. He served as Poet Laureate of Montana from 2007 to 2009.

Related Content
  • On my living room wall hangs a Navajo rughandwoven by Virginia Yazzie. A Storm Patternwith a black and white border, through whichthe spirit line passes,…
  • We must be poets to hear from homeon nights like this. The moonhas a thousand echoesin mud puddles all over town.The old Mission looms behind lifelike…
  • for Harold Herndon(Laundromat & Cafe)You could love here, not the lovely goatin plexiglass nor the elk shotin the middle of a joke, but honest…
  • It worked like this:we clung to our telephones,searching for clearance.I rang for you over the river.All water goes slantto the place you needmost: mouth,…
  • Monologues of white interiorstime-dried of water and windcrowds gather in history's emptinessweightless in the hollows of memorydescription without…