Seen Song

Seen Song

When his vision began to go,
he would only see at first what he could not see–
all those edges that curled like a parchment folding
to smoke, the flame itself soon
but a constellation of floaters.

He sat under a sky that creaked like a swing set–
at least seemed to creak in his mind’s dull eye–
a disease of iron poles that, swingless, rusted to bust–

it was dank where he sat,
the clay of who he was turning to soil he sank into,
when slowly–slow and quick at once–
he began to hear what sounded as if made
by chance– the birds–

who even when he was sighted he hardly ever
seemed to sight–
the chattering whistles, whispered
chitter, the candle quiver of tune
that glowed and flowed, blew in and out beneath
a hum of wind–

and flashes came to him
and whether these were the binocular imprints
of memory or what actually lay
at his skin’s touch–he couldn’t say,
only that he began to see in birdsong–little chirps of field,
cheeped stone, chins
upon a street, the rut-jut-tut
of lips, a railing of caw,
a coo of resonant blue, all roosting
in those eyes that had been waiting, he realized,
for ears, waiting for years for ears, waiting
to hear–

and he sat until his eyes grew almost silent–he knew then
it must be night–and in that night, he saw
the bass thrum of sleeping grasses–how like horses they did not need to lay down
to sleep, but barely bowed tassles that like manes twitched
with passing dreams–and the grasses dreamed, he saw,
of that time when they galloped heedlessly
over mud and clods of mud,
of that time when earth awaited
their seed, as if the earth
were a woman–and his eyes laughed
at the sentimentality
of it all, and his eyes then laughed
and laughed.

*********************

Sort of a poem/prose poem for Stacie Eirich’s prompt on Real Toads to write about birdsong and spaces.  I’m in a bit of a rut re horses and birds lately, but not minding it!  Sorry for the length and thanks for your patience.
Pic mine; all rights reserved. 

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8 Comments on “Seen Song”


  1. A wonderful sketch. I LOVE the poem, how he began to see in birdsong……and the dreaming grasses, and his eyes laughing and laughing. So wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A delight to read.

  2. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    I think this is a stellar piece of writing. the portrait is as clearly drawn as e.e. cummings’ ‘little lame balloon man’, with more for the reader to find in the details. What I like most is the idea that we should be open to seeing with senses other than sight.
    Thanks for this one, Karin.

  3. seirich Says:

    Oh, this is lovely — in a slowly opening way — I loved the descriptions of sounds you used in these lines, as well as image:
    “the chattering whistles, whispered
    chitter, the candle quiver of tune
    that glowed and flowed, blew in and out beneath
    a hum of wind–”
    You took the space of your poem and filled it with life — the humanity at the end, with laughter, is breathtaking. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Rosemary Nissen-Wade Says:

    I don’t mind your ‘rut’ either! This was beautiful to read.


  5. Excellent likening of memory flashes to flight of birds and I agree a wonderful portrait, K!

  6. hedgewitch Says:

    Beautiful, songlike, and very much a creation of spaces and the music we find to fill them with, most expecially when our hearing/sight grows dim. I especially like..”he couldn’t say,
    only that he began to see in birdsong–little chirps of field,
    cheeped stone,..” and the way you switch from one sense to another(there’s a word for that–synesthesia??) and this one: ‘in that night, he saw
    the bass thrum of sleeping grasses–how like horses they did not need to lay down
    to sleep, but barely bowed tassles that like manes twitched..’ really very sweetly sounded and true to the idea of birdsong, throughout, k.

  7. gillena Says:

    luv the new version of seeing introduced by your Verse One. The image teams up really Enjoyed

    i posted late you can read mine
    HERE

    much love…


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