japonisme: the flights of birds

03 October 2006

the flights of birds

The speaker of this poem, "Summer Birds and Flowers," is someone looking at a scroll by Shikibu Terutada from the sixteenth century.

the coiled scroll
enacts the momentary

sweeping down the midday sky
of small birds
on a draft from the distant

blue ravines
and mountain ridges
into the windy clearing
of summer's
middle distance, so luminous
and near
it's hard to see

elegantly disguised
by graceful hollyhocks
and stalks of amber iris
that steeply
lean into the emptiness
that borders
the tended garden path
Any fear of what imperils

and impends
is tempered—
so that the tidal and jagged line
of the far mountains
seems merely an artful

mapping of the birds'
arc of flight
And such a glimmer of gaiety
as they dip and swoop
with unguarded ease
into the inseparable

my heart stops now
as I think of it

© margaret gibson

(from 'autumn grasses')

(ohara; hoytema; bracquemond; hokusai; unknown; ohara?; ohara)

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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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