Friday, October 21, 2005

Sweet Bird of the Revolution


*
A Golden-fronted Woodpecker
slips his long black beak deep into
water from the yellow flower cup
of a cactus. Gently,
in air empty of clatter, he
stops for a drink,
an ordinary being all dressed up,
zebra coat, sweet faced bird,
soft eyes, earnest soul.

I have seen him,
hour after hour after hour,
bang his head against our telephone pole
banging, banging, tap, tap -
like me, bang, bang, tap, tap
bang, bang, tap, tap -
all day, all day, and the next,
and the next.

There must be nourishment in it,
or a place to nest, regenerate, set
a few eggs in a hole, sleep.
He is trying to collapse
the infrastructure. I
drill holes into the grid,
change the essence.
Our whole lives,
we work at it.

The utility will bring
another pole next week.
The letter carrier brought a card.
They'll be here Tuesday
sweet faced bird
with soft brown eyes.
You'll have to start again,
poke through bitter black pitch,
or find another home.

The aura of a migraine
scatters silver spots
across the way I see.
Today, your golden crown,
red hat full of rhythm,
grey shirt,
long beak, pointy claws
balance just so
above Mimosa bursts.

Soon we will return
to relentless banging.

Today, you bring me such quick
joy I almost stop wondering
if it's worth it.


┬ęcopyright, 2005, Susan Bright





Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.

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LANGUAGE TRANSLATIONS

* Huichole

"The Five Sacred Colors of Maize," by Guadalupe, widow of Ramon Medina Silva, after yarn painting by Ramon. Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco.

"The five saved colors of maize in the symbolic universe of the Huichols are white, yellow, red, blue and speckled, with blue the most sacred of all. These five colors are personified as the young maize goddesses, who together coalesce into the maize deity, Our Mother Dukurauku, but also manifest themselves as a single bundle of maize cobs in the five colors. The maize goddess herself appears as a wild dove, after whose distinctive call she is named."

(Art of the Huichol Indians, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco/Harry N. Abrams, Inc. NY, 1979)

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today Susan's words comfort - bring a small smile and respite from the what is.

8:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Susan's words are often from the place where poets and prophets live. I always enjoy her work. MS

9:40 AM  
Blogger Huitzil said...

Nice poem. The high voltage woodpecker, who looks very much like an acorn woodpecker, is not woodpecker of the poem. But hey.

4:41 PM  
Blogger OZ said...

huitzil is right on the acorn.

5:01 PM  
Blogger SB said...

actually it's a pecan

2:11 PM  

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