Jennie Feldman, The Grey Bird


No bright rhyme for this backward glare,
the oboe-squawk half throttled
with hindsight’s effort.
Barely, acrobatically, hanging on.
Is it in the way fear squiggles
a frown and overdoes the eye’s
black brow that we glimpse relief?
Gravity resisted against the odds
the Morbids, poor sight, perennial
Demon seizures (x’s in diaries).
Shades of grey. As if pigeon-haunted
no bird more beautiful — rinsed
to a bluesy defencelessness. But

(Oh! W! X! Y! Z!
Did it never come into your head
That our lives must be lived elsewhere)

even a lifetime’s habit of flight
— inward & out & south & east —
the rollicking tales and painted lands
will not fully translate the cry: I am
mortissimo in body & soul…

seeing out the moment: headspun words
& feathered lines; no more fervent flying.

Jennie Feldman, Three Birds from a seires of imaginary birds by Edward Lear.
PN Review 206, Volume 38 Number 6, July – August 2012.

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