Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Blue Feather

Electric Blue feather

Blue Feather

As the sun blows away from the east,
in the stripped tree by the far fence
the eagle breaks through,
too big, too bright
too blue, come carrying all
the questions of white weather, 
cold electric blue in all his parts.

He moves on the bare branch reflexively, restlessly,
a ruffling knife wind at his back full of every
promise of change and threat of frost,
pulling an azure flight feather
through his solitary note of yellow,
stiletto beak a drooping mask
in harlequin opposition.

Improbable of color and shorn of motion, he sits
in a stillness that is not repose,
a being of want and promise, his eye on
an oblivious thing, small and fat
hunkering at my feet, that one
of all my charges I've loved
but not too much.

The eagle watches from the border
of the breathing lands, as I stand my
half-hearted guard, his bright head cocked
to one side like a ragdoll’s flops,
his mouth unlatched, impatient,
his indigo eye kindling like a flare, burning
blue warning in the impending night.

His great wings draw up in clouds, 
shadows spread dark on the sky
crackling loud in the apricot sunset,
bent legs folding flowers under the storm.
His hoarse cry springs the feather, spinning
sudden and singular it hangs between us
centering the worlds.

Then he’s read me, all I am.
He jumps the wind, a flying bolt of blue gone
forever far from where the bars of arms draw in
and sleet falls on the sacrifice heartcovered
in my breast, safe 
from that one stray moment’s wish
to give it up to make the eagle stay.

May 2011

Posted for  OneShotWednesday   at the inimitable  OneStopPoetry 

Image: Electric Blue Feather, by tallmonkee on flickr


  1. what a majestic creature...in reality and in your words...a gift to see....

  2. You know, I've never seen an Eagle close enough to recognize that head-tilted predatory stare but you have described a hawk watching and waiting perfectly. Had another thought but will wait on that one.

  3. I have similar feelings with turkey vultures.

    The tensions you create in this lush poem make me want to fly, and feel that I could, that I am.

  4. Bird Art on the threshold of home Heart, the eagle all of that magnificent feral cobalt wind-wilderness at the far reaches of the poet's voice, asking of her just one thing -- to surrender the "small and fat" "oblivious" thing she can't, or won't, remit, even though. it is loved "but not too much." Keen sense of sacrifice here in the other sense, what one gives up refusing to give the eagle its sacrificial due. Especially when the Life delivers little more than the substantial presence of existing (here). It is safe, that lousy little life; o but what wilderness was sacrificed in turn for it. Yet how could such an eagle be understood and yearned for without letting it spread those blue wings and fly, fly away? -- Brendan

  5. You give this magnificent creature a name, purpose, eyes and a heart beat.
    You lend the words so he can gracefully soars through the poem

    Moonie smiles

  6. his mouth unlatched, impatient,
    his indigo eye kindling like a flare, burning
    blue warning in the impending night.

    And this:

    "Then he’s read me, all I am." -- A line, I think, could be a poem all its own.

    Well done, striking imagery and word choice here!!

  7. Oh Beautiful!!

    "Shorn of motion".....

    And I wonder what that 'charge' of yours was??

    But you were right to cover it.

    Beautiful,beautiful, soaring poem....You are truly a one with Nature.

    Lady Nyo

  8. Wondrous dramatic story you've told...

  9. Well, Witch, this is quite the riddle you've written here. Interesting that she speaks of "charges" not children, and has only loved the one and not overly much, guarding him half-heartedly. So who is this charge?

    And the eagle. This is no bird found on a fake patriotic beer clock at a flea sale. This is one serious creature. At times, I thought "the eagle is the sky itself" but you mention the sky separately, so no. While the speaker seems almost doped, the bird is kinetic, unsatisfied, hardly able to hold still at all.

    So, I wonder if these two characters are polarities, yin and yang, positive and negative charge? When lightning strikes, it isn't just a bolt flashing down...a smaller feeler goes up first, inviting it. Slow motion photography proves this. This small invitation brings the dazzling strike, and the thunder after. Is that your bird? And is she too paralyzed to reach out to him?

    I'm still pondering why the eagle is blue. Certainly it is central to the poem, but I am too dim to grasp his blueness just at the moment, unless the eagle represents feeling one's "blues", one's pain. A frightfully electric thing that could be, and maybe she is too used to laconically protecting her "small and fat" relative comfort? I'm not sure.

  10. A Sad Eagle.
    Go Figure. You sure can take us places Hedgewitch.
    You have the gift of pen...G

  11. Your words do complete justice to the majesty of this beautiful bird.

  12. I love the blue feather. The blue eagle intrigues me. Very well presented.

  13. Always read your poems with an anticipation and this is no exception with a vivid outer description and a lure to deeper inner images. with the rush of the moment caught in the pace of the words

  14. 'To give it up to make the eagle stay'..I feel that line.

  15. This is amazing and leaves an electric blue image on the mind's sky-- I loved these lines--

    his mouth unlatched, impatient,
    his indigo eye kindling like a flare, burning
    blue warning in the impending night.

    Next to last stanza reminds me of Mary Oliver's The Swan-- do you know that poem? Lovely poem per usual, from you, Joy. xxxj

  16. a eerie and yet intimate interaction with a maganificent sounding creature. I love how you often bring such vivid colors into your writing. I need to do that more often - it really draws me in.

  17. Thanks all. I appreciate you all stopping by to read and comment, and your time and input.

    @Brendan: Thanks for understanding so well.

    @FB: You, too. This was a difficult poem from a dream that left me puzzled and perturbed.

    @jen revved I've not heard of Oliver or the poem you mention. I'll have to look it up.

  18. I love the images you created with your words, beautiful

  19. you put your wholeself into this one and came out a winner!!!a wonderful breathtaking read....and am interested to see you answer fireblosom...cheers pete

  20. Well, I'm still puzzling, like the miller's daughter in Rumplestiltskin, trying to guess his name so she won't have to give him her baby. She says: "Is it an airplane", "Is it the eagle's symbolic ability to achieve spiritual transformation, inner understanding ",maybe both, a delicious brew concocted by the hedgewitch. I had forgotten that the eagle and the scorpion are both symbols of Scorpio (of which club I am a member, born on All Soul's Day - signifying nothing):)

  21. @Pete: Thanks.

    @Ann: There are so many symbols to the eagle that it's hard to pick any single one from the soup. Nobility, immortality, messenger of the gods, scavenger, high flier, etc. (And as a child of the 60's, of course I find all astrological information of interest.)The color is what is so vivid in my mind about the bird--dreams tend to be oddly monochromatic, and when color intrudes, it makes an indelible association. Blue is the ocean the sky, limitless, uncontrollable, and also the color of the human eye(mine in particular, though mine is not close to the blue of this bird.) Who knows, I say?

  22. you paint a picture of mystic, enchanting, yet tangible beauty. it's as if the earth is awash in technicolour. brilliant...

  23. You certainly make us work, but the effort is handsomely repaid. This is an intelligent, enigmatic and deeply compelling poem. It rewards with the most amazing imagery and intensity of language.

  24. You crisp imagery allowed me to be there and experience the thrill of seeing the eagle. This is what nature poetry should be.

  25. Facinating and vivd. I love it.

  26. second to last stanza is pure brilliance...in one fell swoop you change everything and finish with a fine ending...I just love how you managed to convey the wild of it all, quite freeing... 'apricot sunset' damn, wish I had thought of that one, so absolutely wonderful for a description... better than any eagle cam, indeed ~

  27. Just beautiful, hedgewitch. Improbable color, yes, but somehow perfectly fitting.

  28. I too am drawn to pondering what symbols the eagle might represent. The adjectives that come to mind are: powerful, angular, vibrant (esp. with the blue detail), visceral, and unhinged.

    My first instinct was to think eagle = person, but now that I reread the poem, it might be something more abstract, like an ideal, a desire, or a course of action, any of which might require a clawed sacrifice to achieve.

    This poem asks more questions than it answers, which is neat, all with excellent language and imagery. :D

  29. You create such wonderful imagery in your work, this is no exception.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats