Blackbird Garden

In the blackbird garden--
my creation,
with every delight for agelaius phoenicius--
the sunken reed marsh,
the pretty stone fountain, 
and the many hanging feeders filled with sunflowers--

we sat relaxing as the red wings called.
The ground ivy was thick around our green Adirondack chairs.
I need one place, you know,
in this world to feel safe and at peace.
You were so calm, so matter-of-fact,
and the thing you mentioned so trivial,
I wondered why you were shitting me about it.

Nothing changed.
The sun stayed stuck in the sky, behind the branches of the mulberry,
but I felt a shiver as a red wing landed near the ground cover.
It has always been a little buggy there in summer,
but we have citronella
and the blackbirds--
so pretty, so much my beloved favorites,

but from another, smaller perspective (as I imagine),
huge, sudden, and completely terrifying.


Sherry Blue Sky said…
I love the whole idea of a blackbird garden.......words that change things, but the sun staying in the sky. "I need one place in the world to feel safe and at peace".......the image of the red wing is so striking. Loved this.
hedgewitch said…
I actually got shivers reading the last two stanzas--every idyll must always have some snakey insertion to disrupt it, to make what seemed so solid suddenly shimmer like a reflection or the shadow at noon that falls on one's grave. Beautiful work, especially the latin name--however we try to cozy up to life, there's always a death in it somewhere, sometime.
Marian said…
Oh gosh this garden! That one small thing, why? Now the whole garden is toxic. Argh, this really feels heavy, heavy.
Kerry O'Connor said…
You turned the mood of this poem on its head with sure skill... I felt that moment the day seemed to grow a little darker.
brudberg said…
A shadow... a movement changing bliss to something so much less.. I do love blackbirds, but I think they might be a different kind than the one you have... the fact that almost nothing's changed, yet everything has... so much like life can be.
Sioux Roslawski said…
Shay--This is so in the moment, and so sweet, yet there is a dark cloud hanging over the garden. Will it pass by without causing a storm?

We're not sure...
You can't go wrong writing about birds. They fascinate me too. la la mosk
Mama Zen said…
This is so beautiful, yet jarring at the same time.
Gillena Cox said…
The matter of fact trivia so suddenly turned to a shiver response. This metaphor is so acutely tuned to the state of our world today

Well done

Much love...
Rommy said…
To have a place that was a haven suddenly give way to to uncertainty - that can sting the heart like nothing else can.
Anonymous said…
"agelaius phoenicius" ... Doesn't that sound somewhat like "ageless phoenix"?

This section is the most interesting to me:

"You were so calm, so matter-of-fact,
and the thing you mentioned so trivial,
I wondered why you were shitting me about it.

Nothing changed."

I think she lied to you about some little nothing because she was cheating on you. You knew it, in that instant. This is about that surreal moment of trying to process what you've just realized. The nature around you is still the same, but suddenly very different as well.

The ivy wrapped around the chairs is the most informative detail, as it grabs everything it touches and refuses to let go. Even if the affair is only in your imagination, you'll still never be able to stop picturing it. Too, it could be something else ... perhaps she has an illness she's not telling you about. I really like that sometimes you tease me by leaving out some bit of information, taunting me with the fact that I don't know, and never will know, that detail. It's very effective.
Anonymous said…
Nature delights in its deranging disorder. Less so us, especially as we weary of the toll. After awhile, the droll comment is a great relief from the inexorable exacting toll of the dead. But why am I telling you that? I'm reading you back your fine poem. Sorry. Great balance and force here.
I love the force of the final couplet, in the light of what precedes it.

(Despite the great pic, I Googled to make sure redwing and blackbird were the same. Always fascinating to learn about critters we don't have here. Aren't they beautiful!)
Susie Clevenger said…
I felt early on when reading this there was darkness coming. You are so proficient in mood and twist. Bravo
Lynn said…
Beautiful and unsettling.

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