Wednesday, 8 February 2012

floruit: bird companions

Bird Companions

As I lie here hour after hour, I seem to enter
the wild pastimes of the cliff, and to become
a companion of the cormorants and crows.
--J.M. Synge, "The Aran Islands"

i. fish

heron stepping long-legged & slow
along the shoreline
sharp-eyed observer of all that flows
below the river surface

a quick darting response, immersing
your head to claim
this fish's life
for your own

then, head aloft again
you strike a calm, calm & stately, pose

becoming airborne
is always a challenge, with those
broad blue wings & fine walking limbs
& graceful neck

to organize everything
& launch skyward
is difficult, yet daily you accomplish
the task

you do fly with poise & strength
& build a sturdy nest among the trees

ii. delta

river winds across land
gathering clay & soil & seed
building a delta that opens wide
a lush expanse
where red-winged blackbird stays
to sing
all year

the geese & duck arrive
& they leave
& they leave
& then they leave again

season follows season
year after year they make their path
of wide world migrations

& they do stop by me
they do
to rest & feed
but only for a little while

 iii. fish

struck by heron's bill
& caught

lifted dripping from my home
into the sky i go

will i be swallowed?
will i slide all the way along

the inside of that neck
come to rest

deep within
become one

with the heron?
or will i topple to the side

fall from a high place

iv. delta

a wide orchestral interplay
of water & wild flower
mud & tough, tall grass
the songs of the birds & the frogs
liven our hearts

Floruit: fl., the time of flourishing
Fruit: O.Fr., harvest, virtuous action

the light bulb and my coat together have made
a lovely lingam on the floor beside 
the table’s shade

the voice of the sleeve
sings of hidden matters

two poems (c)  joanne arnott

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