Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Shifting patterns

This poem by California poet and scientist Lucille Lang Day weaves a shifting display of images -- the flight patterns of birds made vivid with mathematical terminology. As the poet's observations meander, they build to a question: is a galaxy something like a sparrow?

     Form/Formless      by Lucille Lang Day

     A flock of red-winged blackbirds 
     swooping and swirling 
     in cyclonic and anticyclonic patterns 

     always in motion like Jovian clouds 
     that appear, then disappear 
     according to the mathematics of chaos 
     in yellow, brown and salmon-colored layers 

     The exquisite shape of an Allen's hummingbird— 
     ruby throat, rufous tail, emerald 
     cap and back—hovering over a cluster 
     of tubular flowers dissolving in fog 

     like the writer whose work 
     is obscure to future generations 
     and mistranslated in her own time 

     Words worked like horses 
     bred for plowing, strong and patient 
     yet with wills of their own 

     The universe is something like that— 
     beautiful and shifting, 
     each galaxy alive 
     like a seaside sparrow or a rose 

"Form/Formless" first appeared in the Iodine Poetry Journal , Spring/Summer 2013.  Other poems by Day have appeared previously in this blog (on 13 January 2013 and 18 May 2010).  

1 comment:

  1. Lucille--
    What a beautiful poem you've written. I love the images and movement.