Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Letter to America
Saw a wedge-tailed eagle in the wild the other day. It started by circling another one on the ground, then dive-bombed it a couple of times before sitting sulking very high up in a branch, waiting for its rival to depart, which it duly did.
Which reminds me to mention Helen Macdonald’s book Shaler’s Fish, which it took this trip to Australia for me to discover, at Kris Hemensley’s incomparable Collected Works bookshop on Swanston Street here in Melbourne. Macdonald’s book has to be one of the best published by an English poet in the last fifteen years, let me opine, confidently sidestepping any hyperbole. Here are the beautiful last three stanzas of ‘letter to america’:
& you were scraping the ice from the leading edge a.m.
printing an image of the mansions of the dead a.m.
looking for a small world in the uninhabited air
trying to extinguish some deeper desire for fire
with something as cold and as hard and as temporary as flight
& what you were hoping is that the air would recolonise you
recognize you and welcome you into the sunlight
and all would be forgiven. ink in the thick air would curl
into glyphs of desire & the lightly starred heel
would dip into the sea at dawn as it spoils
into a blaze of mute objects
in the pure suburban heavens