Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Christmas poem

I've been reading and re-reading the BookArtObject set text by Rosemary Dobson as I assemble boxes over Christmas because I've pasted the poem in full in the bottom of each box. It has made me think about poems and the fact I don't often read them, and I thought you might like a poem I saw in Lesley's Printed Material blog... Lesley, I hope you don't mind me quoting you!

Feet that could be clawed but are not...
Arms that might have flown but did not...
No-one said 'Let there be angels' but the birds

Whose choirs fling alleluias over the sea,
Herring gulls, black backs carolling raucously
While cormorants dry their wings on a rocky stable.

Plovers that stoop to sanctify the land
And scoop small, roundy mangers in the sand,
Swaddle a saviour each in a speckled shell.

A chaffinchy fife unreeling in the marsh
Accompanies the tune a solo thrush
Half sings, half talks in riffs of wordless words.

As hymns flare up from tiny muscled throats,
Robins and hidden wrens whose shiny notes
Tinsel the precincts of the winter sun.

What loftier organs than these pipes of beech,
Pillars resounding with the jackdaws' speech,
And poplars swayed with light like shaken bells?

Wings that could be hands, but are not...
Cries that might be pleas but cannot
Question or disinvent the stalker's gun,

Be your own hammerbeam angels of the air
Before, in a maze of space, you disappear,
Stilled by our dazzling anthrocentric mills.
Carol of the Birds by Anne Stevenson
From 'Light Unlocked' Christmas Card Poems published by Enitharmon

I suppose it means something to me partly because the birds are Northern European ones with which I'm familiary, as is the landscape. But anyway, I liked it! It's not quite the same looking out of my windows and seeing parrots and honey eaters feasting on grevilleas in the sunshine, but that's the magic of Christmas in Australia in the summertime - something totally different.


LAC EMP 2020 said...


I love this poem so how can I mind about you repeating it? Glad you like it to. Have read about your trials and tribulations in moving over Christmas. Sounds tricky - just like the snow I encountered in Bristol at Christmas! You would be glad you've moved across the globe, believe me. Hope you'll all be settled for the New Year. Best wishes. Lesley

Snippety Gibbet said...

I know that you are waaaaaay too busy to do it this year, but I certainly did enjoy your "drawing a day" year before last. I contemplated doing it myself. Maybe next year.

I hope things are going well with the move. Can't wait to see when everything is put together!


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