RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS

Issue EightIssue Eight PoetryPoetry

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By Eamonn Wall

 

Today through field glasses

I observe one small flock

of red-winged blackbirds

busy about the Audubon

Center, the viewer narrowing

space to a single frame

while dreadlock lines crossing

over top whir rhythm sweet

as monks might chant compline.

 

Seed has been rattled to earth,

grasses through lens magnified.

 

Of wind, grass and bird sound

no hard register rebounds indoors

though as song I intuit warbling

ear to ear, sweet as a lover’s purr.

 

Nowhere: guns, booty, murder,

mayhem, not even the whizz-

cut of an automobile.

 

Like my

grandmother, the red-winged

blackbirds do no harm. We sit

in the 1960s side-by-side

at the kitchen table drinking tea

afternoon running along

as its own great fearless river.

 

At my back

today, two miles away, things

merge together—confluence

of the Missouri and Mississippi

Rivers—red-winged blackbirds

returning to the frame to feed.

 

Grandmother taught me to be

for silence watchful and how

to merge with it, then float away.

 


(Published in Nathalie Anderson ed. Open-Eyed Full Throated: An Anthology of American/Irish Poets. Dublin; Arlen House 2019)