Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Finches

If the finches should call you
On the land line
In the hall
Of the old house,

There is no need to set aside your book
Or to trouble yourself at all--
It is only a draft
Through a window
Where an empty vase still sits.

It is only the gone summer,
Only the things that could never be;
It is only these.
It is only me.

And if there is a nest
On the pole,
Above the transformer,
Where the snow clouds skulk and glower...

There is an egg,
And in the egg, a memory that does not change,
But is, instead,
As static as a china dish.
Likewise, there is a lace-edged wound,

And within the wound,
An hour,
And within that hour,
The high-grown fields,
Your bare arms with their gooseflesh skin,

And one secreted, hoarded darling--
Palmed in my hand to kiss.

If the finches should call you
Before rot
And ice

It is only me, up on the wire,
Sealed and
With my voice.

I remain as mad
As mad has always been--
A balance pole
Of oriole
And owl bones

Long and thin.
Find the dazed bird on your porch boards,
Dashed against your doorway, dying;
Uncurl my fingers,
Lean close, and laugh,

And love me
One last time.

Picture by Eugenio Recuenco, sent to me by Kerry O'Connor, my fellow Toad. It was originally part of her challenge to me to write to the pictures of Recuenco, which I did, but not to this one, until now.

This is for dverse OLN, because my bestie, Hedgewitch, is hosting. 


Kerry O'Connor said...

This brings tears to my eyes, and I'm not sure why....
That hand held kiss, the nest, egg, memory or the last line, maybe the last line most of all. It's surreal, but it speaks of truth.

Brian Miller said...

fascinating pic...and your play on it is top notch...sealed and cauterized with my voice is a great line...great progession in this as well....fantastic shay...

hedgewitch said...

I wonder if everyone wonders why so many bald women are running around these days?...sigh. It *is* an amazing pic, with the birds colored like koi, but to me the words are served by it more than vice versa--the formal Emily-ish quatrains with the searing pure fire in the blossom images...the egg, symbol of birth, instead static as a china dish, the bicyclist on the high lines with the pole of oriole and owl bones--mad but so lovely with it. I'd single out more lines, but I'd be quoting back the whole thing. Have to mention the end, though, which is so bittersweet, with the fitting and classic eclecticism of true tragedy--which can lie even in the last moments of a broken finch's dream.

Claudia said...

awesome...love the pic..and love all the images...eggs again...this time with memories..great write shay

Anonymous said...

Somehow those finches are singing "The Witchita Lineman" to me, you know, coming across the wires of the wind with something that sound like, "And I need you more than want you / And I want you for all time / And the Witchita Lineman / Is still in the line" etc etc. That old, insatiable ghost who doesn't want it just now, or more, but ALL OF IT ... And is that "old house" the same one where the dead woman ended up the other day? Til those horses arrive, must she make do with the balancing act "of oriole / and owl bones," crossing herself when the finches call in the middle of the night, at every ungodly hour, with the old, inescapable news ... Sorry if this reading doesn't reach as far as you so wonderfully hurled. - Brendan

Anonymous said...

I think I got this all wrong; to me it was remembering the dead. But it worked for me that way.

Fred Rutherford said...

The pic is great and I like how you kept its essence throughout the piece. There are some outstanding lines and words used here. The egg stanza might be my favorite, especially for the contrast I see in tone there, the idea that a voice gets cauterized I loved and the I remain as mad stanza, with the balance pole of oriole and owl bones is outstanding. Excellent read, thanks.

Marion said...

Gorgeous poem, Shay. I fill my many bird feeders every morning and today I had hundreds of little Finches. Your poem made me think of them. xoxo

Louise said...

This is fabulous, Shay...I've had to reread it a few times, I was so lost in it's flow. There's a wistfulness to it...'no need to set aside your book
Or to trouble yourself at all' ..but we'd be missing out if we didn't. I've been trying to work out the meaning and I think it's about a lover walking away? The end of the summer...of hope? Just the feeling I get from it...wonderful write :)

Anonymous said...

Wow. The imagery is just beyond brilliant. And I liked how the finches started and returned to the poem.

Really, excellent work here. Loved reading this.

Arron Shilling said...

its a russian doll write...zooming in on more and more - telescopic reinvention...closer and closer
never taking an eye of the bigger picture... loved it all ;)

ayala said...

Awesome pic and an awesome write! Love the imagery here!

Divalounger said...

A real sense of desolation for me--and it does bring tears to the eyes--it is so full of great imagery and emotion--I love when I get both


Sioux said...

Wistful...heart-wrenching...Very touching, Shay.

Shawna said...

"It is only these.
It is only me."

This is my favorite as you begin to express your intent, your mad love trying to act cool (no big deal, don't answer the phone, don't put down your book) ... yet, love me, love me one last time (or forever) is buried in the owl-smashed insanity, desperate to get inside.

My favorites:

"And one secreted, hoarded darling--
Palmed in my hand to kiss"

"I remain as mad
As mad has always been--
A balance pole
Of oriole
And owl bones

Long and thin."


Margaret said...

This is so fun! It compliments that picture so well - When I hear of finches this will always forever more come to my mind.

..and, yes I found out that the challenge was truly a "personal" one when I went to link up! ha ha. Thanks for your kind words on my photography (pst.. fog helps a lot when trying to create a mood :)

Sherry Blue Sky said...

You have outdone yourself with this one, and that is saying something. Amazed at its poignant beauty, every line imbued with longing. Especially the balance pole of oriole and owl bones. And then the poor battered bird on the doorstep wanting words of love.

Absolutely spectacular work, kiddo. Wow. And they just keep coming. You need a wealthy patron - then you could stay home and write and all of us would be royally entertained. We would all benefit.

You take poetry to a whole 'nuther level.

Vernon Wildy, Jr said...

That is really touching, and the picture you have on here is pretty cool.

Anonymous said...

Intriguing. I love the poem, but the ending is somehow haunting.

Cloudia said...

lovely way to speak back to trauma

Warm Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >


Semaphore said...

For some reason, perhaps the ethereality of the sccene, I feel this poem should be breathed in French.

Laura said...

like a dagger...sharp, pointed, cuts through to a heart that's listening...and one that isn't would likely sweep away those bones, brittle, broken right off the edge of the porch.

HermanTurnip said...

Great piece! Really love the ending :-)

Charles Miller said...

Another wonderful entry from your beautiful mind. This captivates me pn so many levels and so deeply. Your language has the ring of a crystal bell hung on an aspen tree in the mountain wind. Excellent words. Thank you.

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Beautiful and fascinating, and mysterious and intriguing. In short, artful!

Susie Clevenger said...

This is so many things..beautiful, tragic...I remain as mad As mad has always been--A balance pole Of oriole
And owl bones...something frantic about this to me...Great work as aways!

TALON said...

Funny enough, we had a dazed sparrow land on our porch boards. Thank heavens, it didn't die, but after a gentle nudge, it recovered and flew away (the cats carefully kept inside at the time).

I love all the bird speak, Shay. It's an awesome poem.

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Oh, just beautiful, and I totally identified with the speaker.

Susannah said...

Shay, the beauty of your writing leaves me lost for words. Thank you. x

James Rainsford said...

As usual, a masterful example of the power of language to move, enlighten and amaze. I admire your nuanced imagery and brilliant economy of language. Never a wasted or superfluous word.
Thanks for re-visiting my blog & leaving a comment. Much appreciated, James.

Lynn said...

That's beautiful, Shay.

Lolamouse said...

You've composed a poem to match this gorgeous photo! I absolutely love the imagery of the egg, "static as a china dish." Fantastic!

Mary said...

Beautiful; and the ending takes my breath away and brings tears.

Beachanny said...

Funny Sam thought French - it took me to New Orleans. Wondered if "Bird on a Wire" of Aaron Neville informed it, so I listened to it again and thought, "no, not really". This is more - but it also has an ambience that made me think of Benjamin Button - the movie so much more and better than the short story. So then I rejected all influences but the words and realized it's very surreal quality places it in New Orleans where the beauty and history of the place always makes me both happy and sad simultaneously. Quite a feat to do in a short poem. Marvelous!

Mama Zen said...

"Likewise, there is a lace-edged wound,

And within the wound,
An hour,
And within that hour,
The high-grown fields"

My favorite lines. This has such a gorgeous restraint that the images like the wound, owl bones, the dying bird almost give a little shock. This is just as stunning on paper, Shay.

C Rose said...

the word play and creativity you carried this with is well executed, compelling write ~ Rose

Anonymous said...

everything that everyone before me said! plus ~

you are unique in this world, Ms Fireblossom! i was more in awe with each line... touched more deeply... left teary-eyed and breathless at the end. exquisite!

the image complements your writing though it does not rise to the heights of the stratosphere where your words have taken flight.