blackbird in paradise

blackbird in paradise
february 2022, riverside

bip
blackbird in the paradise yard, as looked up to by Little Cat

lived on,
were the
locus ‘i’,
a blackbird
in paradise,
of nothing
more than
this tree
would i
be feathered
in need,
a summer
of leafy
branches
weighed to
grass with
plums, i jabbing
at their flesh,
fibred waters
soured into
sweet, my
whole
body arun
with taste,
my clock of
eye, the timing
in my very cells
wary ever the
clawed hunter,
so seconds on
i flick away to
lunge at drag
at other fruit
ripe unripe,
plunging in
its taste,
the dusk with
its myriad
singings
shall stay
within my eye
for as long
as it be
closed to
open upon
the morning
of sun veined
through time’s
playful ice
trickling in
every which
way we
wish,
and
for those
here as
man,
this morning
comes into
us
to the bottom
of touch,
a light in which
we speak as
gently
as
done
in the
dark
in talk
of
ancient
distant
things
like the flash
of embers
dusted
windows
glimpsed
across
night’s
sea

Copyright © 2022 Peter Le Baige. All Rights Reserved

Click on the link above to hear a reading of the poem.  The accompanying choral music is from the opening minutes of ‘Spem in Alium’  by the Tudor composer, Thomas Tallis, in a recording here by the Tallis Scholars.

8 thoughts on “blackbird in paradise”

  1. My experience is that on reading the first draft, I am not actually reading what is on the page; I’m just reading what I think is on the page, that is, what I think I’ve written. If I record the poem on my phone, then listen carefully over several days, or even a couple of week, to what I’ve actually written, I start (often) to notice gaps between my intended meaning and the meaning actually conveyed by the words I’ve used. I find myself having created only an approximation to what I really want to say. I go back then to the draft, and try to now modify the language of those parts that are missing my intended meaning.
    Sometimes, the words I’ve used convey something better than what I had originally intended, and I can go with that. However, more often, I find I have to rewrite those parts where there’s too great a divergence between what I wanted to say, and what I wrote. So, while I may have a clear idea of the overall structure, and the intent of what I wanted to write, and that, for me, is the greater part of the poem, I still have to be prepared to admit that in parts of it, I’ve not found the best frame for the sentiment in my choice of words.
    Sometimes, like everyone else, I’ve written things that I never edited, because it came out exactly how I intended it, and I can’t better the words found at that time. In those blessed moments, it’s as if the poem unwinds from your cells itself, a fully formed language snake. That’s my approach, oh blackest of dragons among mortals! I started writing this on February 1, but kept changing the last lines because I kept missing or distorting how I wanted to present the final image by my choices of wording. For me, that’s quite fast. I have some pieces where I made substantial changes several years after having, so I thought, finished it. A sudden reading of the piece after a long absence from it, can highlight the parts of it I was never really satisfied with. For this reason, I am usually slow to post anything I’ve recently finished (because so often I fiddle with it later and change it somewhere, even if just by one word).

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  2. Of course, I see I’ve left out those pieces where we write without knowing what is being said. Sometimes repeated listenings/readings might reveal it, but sometimes they don’t, and we have to trust the unconscious impulse that created it, and leave it at that. In those cases we have to be cautious about editing, since the understanding of what we originally wrote dawns so slowly. Perhaps it will never be fully revealed, and we have to respect the poem’s self-concealment. Thanks for asking, blackest dragon of the mountain well.

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  3. Lovely closing image, and the loudness of the dusk choir! also the comments made to b’dragon, that initially you read what you think you’ve written…so true. how valuable that moment we are able to read our work as if by someone else

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    1. Cheers, Dean. Yes, hard to see it, but by dint of sheer practice, we can learn see what we’ve written as if in a mirror. My dad tried to teach me drawing as a child, and one thing he showed me was that to get a fresh perspective on your drawing, you should hold it up to a mirror. Though it’s reversed, you see it as if by someone else. I’ve tried doing it with texts I written, but it’s hard to read backwards LOL. The next best solution was to read it out and record it, then keep playing it back.

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