Friday, June 17, 2005

Ceremony


Ever to know is silence, the mockingbirds sing
early darkness until their wish is realized.
The branches know no bounds, and genuflect.

Sap is their silence, nothing exists which doesn’t
obstruct the sun, except for the sun. Here it comes.
Mockingbird shadows trace the street’s contours.

Mockingbird song traces my ears. The traffic
begins, and each light is a wishing well.
Ever to wait is listening, hear yourself think.

I’m listening to something, don’t know what yet
is raising in me the hope of what’s-to-come,
a hope which furthers nothing. Which speaks truly

too quiet for me to hear. Before work I heard it,
as the traffic idled and the sun blinded those
of us lined up due east, heads tilted each

in our stillness to a light in morning prayer.

5 comments:

Kemel Zaldivar said...

Part of what line breaks do is akin to what a cropping tool does to a picture: line breaks either enhance or occlude detail. For instance, your second stanza reads,

..

Sap is their silence, nothing exists which doesn’t
obstruct the sun, except for the sun. Here it comes.
Mockingbird shadows trace the street’s contours.

..

But wouldn't your language be substantially more material if the same stanza looked like this:

..

Sap is their silence, nothing exists
which doesn’t obstruct the sun, except the sun.
Here it comes. Mockingbird shadows

trace the street’s contours.

..

I removed a preposition for the sake of texture.

Stuart Greenhouse said...

Kemel,

I see what you're saying, regarding the line breaks. Maybe we write poetry for different reasons. Sometimes the appearance of occlusion enhances an undertexture in a poem, after all, even if not in a photograph. The cutting-against line break can have some very dramatic uses (see Milton, for example, or Marvell).

But that's neither here nor there. I do hear your point. I'll think on it, and thank you for your eye, you see a different thing than I would, which is valuable. (My wife agrees with you, btw).

anders said...

Mockingbirds are my favorite birds.
I love the way that they fly, the stripes on the wings.
They have like this gray soft poof of ash color to their wings, with some brown in it, and these twin bright stripes of white. I wonder what deflection-of-predator, or
beauty-mate-life purpose
those white stripes on the winds
white winds on blue waters.
Blackbirds are mimesis.
They speak other birds.
They sit on the fenceposts,
one sits in a tree
trying out different songs,
waiting
to see if a bird flies out of
the thick wall of forest
and betrays where its nest is.
Mockingbird, mockingbird,
sing our song . . .

AnnMarie Eldon said...

I couldn't reconcile branches knowing no bounds with their genuflecting.

anders said...

whoa. that comment by eldon was heavy.

cool thought.