Monday 2 October 2017

'A pip of life amid a mort of tails'

Today is the birthday of that great poet and successful insurance executive Wallace Stevens – 138 today. How to mark the day? With a poem, of course – but which? I got my inspiration when I was taking a stroll early this evening, looked up and saw a squadron of parakeets flying over, on the way to their roosting grounds...

The Bird with the Coppery Keen Claws

Above the forest of the parakeets,
A parakeet of parakeets prevails,
A pip of life amid a mort of tails.

(The rudiments of tropics are around,
Aloe of ivory, pear of rusty rind.)
His lids are white because his eyes are blind.

He is not paradise of parakeets,
Of his gold ether, golden alguazil,
Except because he broods there and is still.

Panache upon panache, his tails deploy
Upward and outward, in green-vented forms,
His tip a drop of water full of storms.

But though the turbulent tinges undulate
As his pure intellect applies its laws,
He moves not on his coppery, keen claws.

He munches a dry shell while he exerts
His will, yet never ceases, perfect cock,
To flare, in the sun-pallor of his rock.

Next time I see the parakeets I shall relish the image of a 'parakeet of parakeets' brooding over them, exerting his will as he munches a dry shell...

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