Monday, November 23, 2015

Lost Birds

Lost birds, soft as smoke
fly above a dry burning land--
they don't stop to rest in bare black trees--
lost birds come straight to your hand.

Lady gentle as the touch of death,
so beautiful, like a lost bird's song--
they sing, so sure you're their homeward star--
but they're wrong, those birds, lost and wrong.

Lost bird finds out when you stroke its wing--
lost bird lost Heaven, lost everything.

I've seen how you make fruit from flower
and leave a stem curling brown on the branch--
I've seen how you look at the ripening rows--
and the barbs on the fence where the night birds catch.

Lost birds come all the way from Mexico
caught in crosswinds east then south--
all just to bring you a Spanish song
from a lost bird's throat to your calico's mouth.

Lost birds lose whatever they bring--
lose sky, lose Heaven, lose everything. 
______

for magpie #295.



20 comments:

Susan said...

What a song to put with this poem! And the birds innocently enter the jaws of death. Sneaky calico! The repetitions here lead me to the chasm, right after soft and gentle and beautiful. I feel the parallel of poem to life and wish it wasn't so.

ஜிப்சி பனி said...

This is gorgeous, especially this section from the opening, "Lost birds, soft as smoke ... come straight to your hand," and the last two lines of the poem.

The fourth and fifth stanzas are very interesting, engaging, and layered as well. I also appreciate the sensual undertones running throughout.

I think everyone feels like a "lost bird" who's lost "everything," from time to time. But feeling like you've lost Heaven would be a heavy sorrow to bear. I wonder if it's a true Heaven she's lost, or a perceived Heaven (on earth; love, perhaps). Lost/broken "ladies" do tend to land on any open hand promising safety and/or nourishment, often only to end up with a broken wing or neck when they hand (or jaw) closes around them. They should never forget their God-given ability to peck; only in hurting the hand that holds them will the lost birds escape unscathed.

TexWisGirl said...

haunting and beautiful.

Wayne said...

Indeed haunting...well done

Cloudia said...

Woah!

Kutamun said...

Eloquently Melancholy ....right on !

brudberg said...

I had started to think about Amy Winehouse when reading about lost birds... and then you have that video... very apt.

hedgewitch said...

Deep and irretrievable sadness here, the empty cup, the hope that is shattered like ice on a pond as you go down to drown. No one captures a mood like you do, Shay--every line of this, with its soft sad rhymes and fluttering cadence, tears at the heart.

Kerry O'Connor said...

I love your bird poetry, and I have to say that I think this is your very best, or at least my new favourite. It is everything a poem should be - a song of the heart, mind and soul.

Mama Zen said...

So much steel beneath the softness. The repetition is hypnotic.

Jennifer Wagner said...

Whoa.

Just...I can't even...

Gorgeous, superlative work, Shay.


Gillena Cox said...

lost but not despairing, there is a kind of natural destiny to this poem, no metaphor for hope but rather a statement of how somethings are created

have a nice Tuesday

much love...

Berowne said...

Powerfully imaginative, holding.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

WOW!!!! One of my favourites yet, and that is saying something. I love the rhythm of it, the rhyme, the lost bird's song - and that wonderful line about losing sky, Heaven and everything. What a gorgeous poem this is.

Jim said...

I would have liked to have heard Amy sing your song.
Amy was my hero, a modern female James Dean, Rebel.
..

Marian said...

So pretty, reads like a song to the calico's mouth. Really wonderful, Shay.

Carol Campbell said...

Your repetition really brings home the meaning in your poem!

Sioux said...

The fragility, the close examination, the near-rhyme, the dose of Amy Winehouse...

Thanks for being Shay. (And by the way, with lots of other folks putting out their memoirs... Have you ever considered doing it?)

Susie Clevenger said...

This is heartbreaking, but so beautiful.

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Exquisite and heart-breaking. Loved this, la la Mosk - ps Happy Thanksgiving