Saturday 31 January 2015

Day 927: Flit


Have you ever noticed how small birds flit and fly through the air, like little whizzing acrobats?  I've often tried to describe it, but words fall limp in comparison. As Mark Doty remarks here - 'thought has to flit/to describe it' - and that's exactly what this poem does. It succeeds in capturing that darting, flickering, quick movement of the chickadee bird (pictured above) not just aptly, but delightfully too.

Flit - Mark Doty

                 - dart - an idea
arcs the cold, then a clutch

of related thoughts;
slim branches don't even

flicker with the weight
of what's landed;

animate alphabet
whizzing past our faces,

little black and white hurry,
as if a form of notation

accompanied our walk,
a little ahead of us

and a bit behind. If we
could see their trajectory,

if their trace remained
in the winter air,

what a tunnel they'd figure:
skein of quick vectors

above our head, 
a fierce braid,

improvised, their decisions
- the way one makes poetry

from syntax - unpredictable, resolving
to wild regularity

(thought has to flit
to describe it, speech

has to try that hurry).
A scaffolding, 

a kind of argument
about being numerous. 

Thread and rethread - alight.
Study. We might be carrying

crumbs. We're not. I wish. 
Their small heads cock, 

they lift (no visible effort,
as if flight were the work

of the will only), light,
a little further along, 

and though they're silent
it seems you could hear

the minute repeating registers
of their attention,

*_____, *______, the here you are
yes here you yes. 

Pronoun reference unclear.
Who looks at us

- an aerial association
of a dozen subjectivities,

or a singular self
wearing, this snowy afternoon, 

twelve pair of wings? 
Collectivity of sparks, 

sparking collectivity? Say live 
resides not inside feathers or skin

but in the whizzing medium, 
No third person. 

Sharp, clear globe of January,
and we - the fourteen of us -

the thinking taking place.
We is instances of alertness,

grammar help me. 
Mind in the ringing day, 

a little of us ahead
and a bit behind, 

and all that action
barely disturbs the air. 

1 comment:

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