Saturday, November 26, 2011

Songbird


Songbird


Indifference 
cuts with a dull spoon
pushing not parting,
crushing connective tissue
to an encumbering slop
sticky, tarblack, compressed
not expressed, leaving a residue
of oily maroon heartprints, sharp cries
of assailed bones and feathers.

Still I fear time's blade 
more hungry than your turned face,  
a stone knife of purpose
relentless to render ragged bonds
rippling ribbons loosed
on dark blue wind, insistent
to pull out my stranger's soul
a broken bird struggling to fly
from a filamentous cage

that only death can lay open,
a netting the scythe stroke 
is all too soon to sever, slipping
the cold catch that keeps the captive safe,
the last one who'll ever
call him early.
No, here I'll sit and sing con brio
my softening notes into the sieving lyre
of these lacy humming bars.
.



November 2011




*con brio: with spirit, with vigour



Posted for   Poetics   at dVerse Poets Pub
Mark Kerstetter is host today, and asks us to examine our connections to the wild. Come join us. Link is live till midnight Sunday







Optional Musical Accompaniment


Lyrics by Jesse Winchester  here






36 comments:

  1. I have been that broken bird struggling to fly out from its cage.........wonderful writing, Joy - the maroon heartprints and the dark blue wind.

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  2. just beautiful and the photo is striking.

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  3. sing it hedge...Still I fear time's blade
    more hungry than your turned face,...ah we can not ignore its cut and it certainly can be vicious...but sing on and revel in the moments...

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  4. You have gathered many words over time, but perhaps this collection is one of your loveliest! Oh so beautiful! I hear your song so sweet! Thank you.

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  5. this feels like a song which covers a vast range of emotions and ends very peaceful..
    ..to pull out my stranger's soul
    a broken bird struggling to fly.. was the key image in here for me...

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  6. Wow, great images and music of wordplay to go along with it. I like the environment that you create in which to nest the captive (crushed?) bird. The density of this echoes your beginning and I almost can see/hear the bird escaping from gravity. Excellent.

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  7. In Ovid's Metamorphoses, Philomela is raped by her sister's husband Tereus who then cuts off her tongue so she wouldn't tell anyone. However, she gets her revenge by weaving an artful tapestry that told her story and sent it to her sister, who proceeded to kill her son by Tereus and then serves the boy to him in the form of dinner. The Olympian gods spared Procne and Philomela, turning them into songbirds. Long comment short--and my point-- it's the nail of life pressed against our hearts that makes us sing so pretty, so much like this. I knew you'd make some good hard lemonade outta those lemons. You got me tapping my foot to those "lacy humming bars," dancing back the dearth. Great to see ya back with this tapestry, Hedge. - Brendan

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  8. WOW...all right. The spoon images got me. Your openings are always such a hook - an invisible filament or fishing line luring us deeper and deeper and then pulling us up. WOW WOW again!

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  9. This was a pleasure to read with its alliteration and unique word choices. I particularly like the filamentous cage and the sieving lyre.

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  10. this is so touching, lovely, full of feeling for the song (i don't see this as wild though, this line seems so gentle)->

    here I'll sit and sing con brio
    my softening notes into the sieving lyre
    of these lacy humming bars.

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  11. Love three parts to this -- indifference, time and then death -- all slashing away. Great picture to start off the mood!

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  12. This is my favorite so far tonight. Why am I not surprised? This is music to my ears, and your alliteration knocks me silly. I agree with what you said at the pub about captivity being the other face of wild. But your poem goes beyond the songbird, Joy. It's the song, truly.

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  13. Thanks Mark, That means a lot to me. And thanks all for your kind comments.

    @B: Yes, that's a wicked myth, another where the child becomes the weapon, like Medea--do you suppose it attempts to define the origin of art, or the wages of betrayal? Both? Is the moral that every revenge has its price, and every pain its song? That's the lure of myth, I suppose, that it's a mask over so many faces.

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  14. Stunning. The song of the bird cannot be ignored.

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  15. Are we sort of on the same track lately, Ms. Witch? I think con brio is the only way you even know how to sing. Sing on, rare bird.

    PS--young Emmylou! *sigh*

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  16. @FB: Well, I managed to avoid having my face ripped off by demons, but other than that, different road to the same place perhaps...that's one of my favorite all time Emmy Lou songs--the lyrics I never could figure out til just recently through googling them, and now its even better. "Songbird in a golden cage/she prefers the blue./How I crave the liquor of her song..."

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  17. Stunning... stark depth. Beauty at its best in that melody.

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  18. The sun came out on a second reading - and it has stayed out.

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  19. As usual, powerful imagery and brilliant construction. I also love the image, so appropriate to your theme.

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  20. Powerful complementation to the painting

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  21. Blimey Hedgy, you're going supersonic on me. It's been too long (I've been away, things been tough offline). I shit ye not when I say you are one of the finest free verse poets I know. This is magnificent. 'Wild' was a real opening for grit, the ugly, the darker, and those who did it well produced poems that are right up my street. Not that I linger in the shadows all day, but there's nothing like grit and reality in poetry, sans over-sentimentality/emo angst/cliche.

    cuts with a dull spoon
    pushing not parting,
    crushing connective tissue
    to an encumbering slop >> this is top stuff

    Best prompt theme yet...

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  22. Just WOW! from the fabulous opening lines to the exceptional conclusion. There is so much here for the senses and the intellect.. am going back up to the top to read it again.

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  23. Thanks Luke--with the amount of poetry you produce and read, your comments are always highly valued.I agree Mark surpassed the whole concept of 'prompt' with this one, both turning us on to and forcing out some excellent material. And I agree that sentimentality finds too comfy a home in verse all too often.

    @Kerry: thanks for reading here twice in one day--I'll be by your place again soon.

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  24. Hedge, that first stanza just breaks it open...from there, your words soar down the page. A re-read with Emmy Lou singing...just brilliant. You are one who I knew would capture the 'wild' element for your poetic voice seems to sing strongest when 'bound' by the winds of nature. ~

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  25. I can only reiterate what so many have said...just brilliant, hedge.

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  26. You've illuminated the deepest recesses with eyes open to truth; a song that spins the infinite into being, one only you could sing so well.

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  27. Thanks Anna. You always brighten my day when you stop by.

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  28. Really wonderful. The only dull spoon here is the one written about. K.

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  29. I just feel so honored to read this brilliant poem.

    This breaks my heart with its beauty and pathos. I wish I did not understand it, but I do on several levels: the crushing Indifference, ...I fear time's blade..., and, finally, in my still-hurting loss of my Peach-face Lovebird, whose cage was lunged at in my patio by a stray cat...slipping
    the cold catch that keeps the captive safe
    , and setting dear Winnie free to starve in the hills around town (he came back to the front porch once and a neighbor nearly netted him, but, alas, Winnie flew away forever).

    God, what a poem!

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  30. I love this melancholy song, Hedge. I echo the other commenters.

    Yes, with spirit, and the sieving lyre and lacy humming bars is an absolutely brilliant ending to a magnificent poem. Are they bars, or bars? Bars of a cage become bars of a song score. You are awfully good.

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  31. Thanks dear Ruth. I read a quote by Stevens last night: "In poetry, you must love the words, the ideas and the images and rhythms with all your capacity to love anything at all." It's very true--we marshal the words and phrases as I picture you selecting and cutting your quilting pieces, with infinite care; we turn the words over, polish them, discard and reselect them with a fascinated love, and like Nature, they repay us by giving our hearts' voice.

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  32. @Lydia: I think keeping and loving birds is very hard. I'm sorry for this sad memory, but I'm also amazed at the insight into this poem it brought you--you've nailed totally the feeling and image I was trying for. Thanks so much for your comment.

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  33. Damn, this is tight! The alliteration creates gorgeous tension. Gorgeous, Hedge.

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg