Armageddon Lullaby

Birds flew high above a world on fire.
Around my neck a river worn as below my body burned.
In my hair a water-garland where water birds turned.
All around, the black-robed dead, on legion ashen pyres.

I called to the birds above a world on fire.
Called and sang to the birds from my disintegrating throat.
The birds spun from glass and the heavens entire
were turned by my song first to whispers, then to smoke.

Around my neck I wore a childhood stream.
In my hair a feather garland made of swans and steam.
The world turned red, then orange, then white
and the birds to choristers of anthracite.
________

for Sunday Muse #89. And for the world in flood and fire.





Comments

Carrie Van Horn said…
Oh this is amazing and so fitting for all going on in the world. I love the amazing rhyme. I do love it when you rhyme! Although your free verse it to die for! No one can blow me away with a poem quite like you Shay, be it of love or be it of sadness to the core!
Eddie said…
Gosh Shay
This is wonderful and what a fantastic take on the prompt.

And loved Adagio as well.
hedgewitch said…
First, the title. Really like it. Then the succession of images, just seemingly casually flung together, (like gorgeous babes say about their perfect ensembles) but impossible not to admire. Your affinity for birds is always resonant for me; it's a spirit thing that haunts the mood when you use them, and never more effectively than here, where they change and change again in an impossible, deadly habitat. Flood and fire will change us all, but its the loss of little living beings of beauty that will make us cry.
Susan said…
I read it to the music, and felt the cadence of funeral processions in the opening notes. Wow. How the song turns the birds and then turns them into coal blew my mind. O, earth, let this not be (y)our last sleep!
Susie Clevenger said…
Goodness, the perfect title. It feels like it is Mother Earth speaking. I wish there wasn't so much reality in this.
Brendan said…
Second stanza could serve both as manifesto and elegy for the age. Thanks for brining it.
. said…
That last stanza ~ good golly, girl. And only you could think up a river as a necklace. Love.
. said…
“Anthracite ignites with difficulty and burns with a short, blue, and smokeless flame.”

Isn’t that beautiful?
. said…
“Other terms which refer to anthracite are black coal, hard coal, stone coal, dark coal, coffee coal, blind coal, Kilkenny coal, crow coal or craw coal, and black diamond.”

Very cool.
Sherry Blue Sky said…
Perfection. I wrote about skybirds too, earlier today. But am going to work a lot more on it before I post it. Especially after reading this. Every line is so perfect, no use picking out the best bits. They are ALL the best bits. Wow.
Sumana Roy said…
As a bird watcher & lover the poem spoke to my soul. Each word became an ache, a burnt feather & the music the bird's soul. So, so beautiful.
Marian said…
End times, I can't stand it
All the water flowing through our words and hearts
Scorched earth, no flight
Sioux Roslawski said…
Given our current president, is the title supposed to soothe us... or reignite the panic? ;)
Yvonne Osborne said…
I wish to tell you that I like your poem. Poets give me hope. What we are doing to the birds and all living creatures is the saddest thing for it isn't their fault
C. Sandlin said…
You've brought the swell of the entire orchestra to this--it shakes me each time I read it.
Only you could make such sombre beauty out of a situation so dire. The Adagio is the perfect accompaniment. And the images with it also. Yet on its own the poem is already the saddest and most doom-laden thing I ever read ... as well as being utterly beautiful.
"the black-robed dead, on legion ashen pyres"

Imagery in this poem is stunning. Rhyming works perfectly.
Vesper said…
What can I say other than repeat what the others have already written in their comments? I'm overwhelmed with beauty and sorrow and joy... This river,worn around the neck, is spectacular.
Mama Zen said…
The is just breathtaking in its imagery. I particularly like the second stanza.

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