Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Flying Away: Poems by several authors

...out the window then?

less like a curtain caught in the breeze
more like a bird launching
into morning

out of the cage and into the house
out of the house and into
unrestricted day

day becomes night & seasons
turn, the budgie among
the swallows

this is what freedom is
what it looks like

Joanne Arnott

homage to paul eluard

the birds of the lawn what
do they have to do
with poetry what
do their wings say
about words and things
or words
about wings

even if they catch the rays of the sunset
flashing, even if
each bird sings

they have already gone lightly
to their home in the night, heads
tucked under their wings, song
words under the tongue

poetry burrows, burrows,
borrowing the colours of the earth,
paying no interest. Gone
in the flutter of an eyelid
the flutter of a wing,
the fluttering flattering tongues.

Jamie Reid, from homages, Pooka Press


how language at least English
deteriorates no longer says
what it used to say sentences no longer
than they used to be but without
periods no thought ever completed run on
into the next one too much expected reality
overcrowded too few words one word doing
multiple duty what was actually meant the mouth
the page cannot contain ambiguity
burgeons less for distraction more than attraction all's
garbled that warbler warbles distinctively
in the very far distance

Jamie Reid (this poem first appeared in Open Text, Canadian Poetry in the 21st Century, edited by Roger Farr, Capilano University Editions, 2008).

from a work in progress: First Book, Three Gardens of Andalusia, by Gerry Shikatani

how now, it's the best of the light
when the cats creep alone
the grounds and the flowers begin to
grow Now the road leads to
everywhere in the plan
that has brought the tongue to
bear and wander.
Then is the time of sitting
with the voice held against the thin chest
the birds echoing up the road.

Even the hedges hold evenly
as if shaping the hours to come
the sun moves through this thin rain,
a rain heavier, the ink staining
my hands.

I have a nose.
Someone is cooking.
It all comes together with such lexicon.
Cats dart for escape.

Gerry Shikatani, from First Book, Gardens of Andalusia, Capilano Review, Winter/Spring 2003

photo by robb: see http://www.morguefile.com/creative/robb

writing per-verse writing birdsong

When, in the comics, a character is knocked on the head
and hears birds, it's real
I was clouted once and saw stars, not nice.
But once you shut out the cartoonish clamour of men,
you hear birdsong. Thousands in every range,
especially the ones that tip up their heads,
open tiny jaws and sing
full-voiced with the heart.
This is what poetry does;
it clouts you over the head so you hear
eagles to distraction, finches to tears;
you hear flocks, with a twitter, swoop on single wing.
I think, when there were forests,
this country was once deafening. Altogether
deafening, and maybe people were silent,
and when they spoke, they spoke in song.
When you listen to language,
you don't understand, like birdsong or poems,
your mind disengages and sends itself off
to search for subtler signs around the words,
signs of truth or humor, maybe some intrigue
to be found in the corner when you're not listening;
and the birds report in the same tongue at home,
or sit portentously quiet.


photos by Carol Reid unless otherwise noted

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