There was a Quail…

There was a quail, yes a quail, wounded in the wing

Looking up in wonder at the Hunter and the Sky

There was a quail, yes a quail, forgetting how to sing

His flame bleeding back into the shadow of a sigh

There was a man, yes a man, wounded in the wing

Half in life, half in death, having lost the power to sing

Looking up in wonder at the Hunter and the Sky

Learning how to live, learning how to die

They came from the forest, they came from the hill

The birds gathered round to hear the wisdom of the Song

They leaned closer to his lips, but his lips were chill

And the Sky was deep, and the River long

He moved his lips, yes his lips, tried to murmur Song

But the Sky was deep, and the River long

Some say he murmured the Hunter is My Brother

Some say he murmured the Hunter is The Other

Some say they heard nothing, nothing at all

Some say they saw a tear, one tear

On a feather neath his eye

Some say this was a sign

That he would live—that he would die

Some say The Oracle remains alive today

Some say The Oracle has nothing left to say

Some say the quail is still wounded in the wing

Some say the quail will rise one day and sing


  • Bernard Block was born and raised in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn and attended Cornell University and Brooklyn College. He hitch-hiked to California in 1965 and lived in the Haight-Ashbury through 1967 where he gave poetry readings at the I and Thou Coffee Shop, North Beach coffee houses and Golden Gate Park. He returned to NYC and studied with the poet Colette Inez in the mid '70's. He earned his living as a caseworker with the Bureau of Child Welfare in New York City (he is now retired). Bernard has read at all the major spoken-word venues in NYC. He has presented his poetry in venues in Philadelphia, Columbia, SC and Asheville, NC. In August, 2014 he was invited to feature in Laugharne, South Wales in celebration of the centenary of Dylan Thomas’ birth. Bernard curates and hosts the Series “From Whitman to Ginsberg” at Cornelia St. Café. There have been 21 editions of this Series; the most recent was presented on September 28, 2018. All 21 editions were videotaped and can be accessed on his YouTube Channel. He has had 38 poems published in the prestigious European on-line literary journal Levure Littéraire #8, #9 and #12 (Editors: Rodica Draghincescu; Erika Dagnino). Five of Bernard's poems appear in the French/English literary journal Recours au Poème (Editor: Marilyne Bertoncini) with French translation by Elizabeth Brunazzi. In an article in this journal regarding the NYC poetry scene, Ms. Brunazzi devotes a significant discussion to Bernard's poetry and his organizing role on that scene. Bernard Block’s book of poetry "Am I My Brother’s Keeper?" has been released by Dark Light Publishing. This is a bilingual edition, English/Spanish, with evocative translations by the eminent Mexican poet, Roberto Mendoza Ayala. It is available on Amazon and from the author: [email protected]