Thursday, June 26, 2008

Birds Without Feathers

I'm going to put something different in here, a poem I wrote the other night while I was in a motel in southern Maine.  I was nodding off and woke up with a phrase in my head that seemed very interesting at the time - "He received his smells from new flowers..."; it seems a little odd now, but it led to the poem below.  

Birds Without Feathers

He received his smells from new flowers,
and his songs from beneath the drafts of new birds,
fresh from the Carolinas.
on the other hand,
was an old lady, once,
stepping amidst the lights and nights of New York City
before a third party, a devil, dragged her
and her bags of stones and feathers
into and through the sweltering maze...
There is more, but it's not my story;
I can't tell it without assistance.

Enter the dragon (smoke fills the hall)
has blue eyes
and red hair
and scales as smooth as skin.

The rhodora speaks:
"Heaven!  I knew her once, when I lived in the bustle.
I never saw but the corners of her eyes,
though when my back was turned she made faces with her thoughts.
I wonder that she was making fun of me."

Dragon: "But what about the other one?"

"He never cared about me, just my beauty,
and my crown."

But they did meet once,
in a bar,
where everybody else meets (I can barely stand to say it)
and knew each other instantly,
he from the smell of sandpipers, and she,
from the mud clinging to the soles of her shoes.

That's it.  If you know what it means, let me know.  The only thing I can point to that comes from something in the fore of my head is the rhodora - there is a wonderful poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson that is called "The Rhodora".  

Here is what wikipedia has to say about the rhodora:
"Rhodora is a section of subgenus Pentathera in the genus Rhododendron. It comprised two species, both deciduous shrubs native to eastern North America..."

It is a pretty flower.

Here is the Emerson poem:

The Rhodora

On being asked, Whence is the flower?

In May, when the sea-winds pierced our solitudes,
I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,
To please the desert and the sluggish brook.
The purple petals, fallen in the pool,
Made the black water with their beauty gay;
Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool,
And court the flower that cheapens his array.
Rhodora! If the sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,
Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing,
Then Beauty is its own excuse for being:
Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose!
I never thought to ask, I never knew:
But, in my simple ignorance, suppose,
The self-same Power that brought me there brought you.

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