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Word after word floats through the glass. Towards me”                                                    –“Seeing for A Moment”–Denise Levertov

Today’s poem came a lot easier than yesterday’s because I saw a cool bird.  Inspiration is a funny thing.  Anyhow, on our way up to the mountain today I saw a Red Harrier by the lake. It had a deep grey plumage and a beak that looked bonecrushing.  This one to the left is a New Zealand Harrier, but it is a lot closer in color to the one I saw today than any other photo I can find.

At least, I’m pretty sure that’s what it was.  I’m new to this birder thing, which is a skill that my grandmother Stan is in the process of passing down to Mae.  She sent us Sibley’s and emails photos for us to identify of the birds that come to her deck overlooking the Jefferson river in Three Forks, MT.  From what I gather, the bird is supposed to have left the state by now.

I decided against rule #4–The Poem Stands Alone, because I rather like blogging.  While this will be foremost the place where I post my poetry challenge, it should also a be a blog about poetry, and about inspiration and how to flex our make muscles.  I always tell my students that creativity is a just like any other muscle in the body. It needs to be used, every day, and in different ways, or else it grows wimpy and can end up with its feet in the air and head in the trashcan in the school hallway.  To that end, after you read this, you wonderful people who are reading, continue on to read “Seeing For a Moment”, but Denise Levertov, because it is a personal favorite.

Information Systems Analysis

A wayward bird of prey updates its status with a preen.

“I’m lost, I’m lost,” it beams into the wider hush,

but the Red Harrier gets its signals from starlight, and not the other way round. Like we do, broadcasting bits and bytes on high even though we unsure the devices above can read the technology.

The Harrier is waiting, in his dark grey male coat, for his crew. A mean mug and hook, unlike him to misread the celestial cues

(while we do it all the time)

but it is midwinter and something is wrong.  His brothers are missing.  He may be ornery,

(flighty his mother called him),

but surely they should be here by now.

And there are so many dangers now

(just like his grandfather said there would be)

lines of power stringing the planet, and farms where we try to grow wind, and wildcats of oil,

and the starmap seems rigged.

It’s off, and they way that he carried in his hollow bones

he fears is lost for good.

But this aspen perch over the lake gives good roost, and there’s enough fish

even if it is too lonely. Good a place as any to wait.

Perhaps the birds are the smart ones.


Seeing For A Moment–Denise Levertov

I thought I was growing wings—
it was a cocoon.

I thought, now is the time to step
into the fire—
it was deep water.

Eschatology is a word I learned
as a child: the study of Last Things;

facing my mirror—no longer young,
the news—always of death,
the dogs—rising from sleep and clamoring
and howling, howling,

I see for a moment
that’s not it: it is
the First Things.

Word after word
floats through the glass.
Towards me.

(c) Denise Levertov