Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Poetic Foot

It's the lifted foot I love on this fine Mr. Wigeon! 
This snow only lasted three days, 
Now there are only a few heaps of "remaining snow" 
which is a kigo (haiku season word) 
for late winter or very early spring. 
I think is is one of the very poignant kigo 
like "autumn deepens" or "spring melancholy" 
which are two of my very favorite season words..

The Backward Look

A stagger in air
as if a language
failed, a sleight
of wing.

A snipe's bleat is fleeing
its nesting ground
into dialect,
into variants,

transliterations whirr
on the nature reserves --
little goat of the air,
of the evening.

little goat of the frost.
It is his tail-feathers
drumming elegies
in the slipstream

of wild goose
and yellow bittern
as he corkscrews away
into the vaults

that we live off, his flight
through the sniper's eyrie,
over twilit earthworks
and wall-steads,

disappearing among 
gleanings and leavings
in the combs
of a fieldworker's archive.

Seamus Heaney
Wintering Out, Faber and Faber, 2011
Kindle location 269.

I was thinking about Seamus Heaney tonight because of a recent article "re-evaluating" his poetry. That's that writer's code for "devaluing" the work of this fine Nobel Prizewinning poet. And I say, "Balderdash!" So I went looking for something birdish to go with my duck. I am getting more and more poetry on my Kindle and finding it useful to have it so handy. 

I like the way this poem drapes itself handily across the four-line stanza; it is even willing to begin a stanza without a capital letter! 

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