Thursday, April 5, 2012

I've discovered a poet new to me

I've discovered a new-to-me poet who's not new but, I think - because of his brilliant poetry - always new. If you like this poem, check out his other work. I'm swept up and away by this poem. 


Ground Birds in Open Country
by Stanley Plumly

They fly up in front of you so suddenly,
tossed, like gravel, by the handful,
kicked like snow or dead leaves into life.
Or if it's spring they break back and forth
like schools of fish silver at the surface,
like the swifts I saw in the hundreds
over the red tile roofs of Assisi—
they made shadows, they changed sunlight,
and at evening, before vespers,
waved back to the blackbird nuns.
My life list is one bird at a time long,
what Roethke calls looking. The eye,
particular for color, remembers when
a treeful would go gray with applause,
in the middle of nowhere, in a one-oak field.
I clapped my hands just for the company.
As one lonely morning, green under glass,
a redwing flew straight at me, its shoulders
slick with rain that hadn't fallen yet.
In the birdbook there, where the names are,
it's always May, and the thing so fixed
we can see it—Cerulean, Blackpoll, Pine.
The time one got into the schoolroom
we didn't know what it was, but it sang,
it sailed along the ceiling on all sides,
and blew back out, wild, still lost,
before any of us, stunned, could shout
it down. And in a hallway once,
a bird went mad, window by locked window,
the hollow echo length of a building.
I picked it up closed inside my hand.
I picked it up and tried to let it go.
They fly up so quickly in front of you,
without names, in the slurred shapes of wings.
Scatter as if shot from twelve-gauge guns.
Or they fly from room to room, from memory
past the future, having already gathered
                in great numbers on the ground.

2 comments:

  1. You have a fabulous blog! I’m an author and illustrator and I made some awards to give fellow bloggers whose sites I enjoy. I want to award you with one of my homemade awards: the Powerful Woman Writer Award. There are no pass along requirements. This is just to reward you for all the hard work you do!

    Go to http://astorybookworld.blogspot.com/p/awards.html and pick up your award.
    ~Deirdra

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    Replies
    1. Deirdra,

      I just now saw your comment that you made here (today's date is 03/08/13)! Thank you for your kind words. I do appreciate them and I am complimented by your giving me your "Powerful Woman Writer" Award. I'm sorry it took so long to say "thank you."

      I've looked at your blog and now will add it to my favorites. My best to you!

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