Monday, April 18, 2016

The Flight of the Swallow

In memory of Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore

What do they know
Of the flight of the swallow
Or the crane and how it dives?

What do they know
Of the life under your eyes
Or your smile and how it wanes?

What do they know
Of the gathering of the night
Or her waist and how it sways?

What will they know
Of the taste of the sea in your bread
And your embrace trembling under my sleep?

They'll know nothing
But the snow gathering under their fingernails
And the horizon as it folds onto itself...

(Originally posted on May 10, 2005)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What I really liked about this poem is how it exploits the form and spirit of an older, more orderly poem into expressing fresh things.

This is not to overlook the fact that the form and spirit per se of some older traditional poem works, because they contain a certain delicacy and sensitivity, something romantic about them.

In other words, “What do they know/ Of the flight of the swallow
Or the crane and how it dives?” might have equally been uttered by some English poet during the 19th Century, and I kind of like that. I equally like the shift that occurs following that triplet into subjects (initially) more personal and intimate and (eventually) flirting with the edge of the Surreal. Were this a graphic design project, I would have told you that “there is something (very) interesting beginning here,” and that you would want to “push it further.” I wonder, though, if poetry is like a work of graphic design, a push-furthable.

Your last triplet is also a classical answer to such poetic structures (I forgot their names), which is a strong point, but the triplet itself, nonetheless, is weaker than its preceding progression,
Ton frère Ahmad