Wednesday, November 14, 2012
"Little Killing Ditty"
Christian Wiman in Slate:
I have forgotten the little killing ditty
whispered to the red birds and the blue birds and the brown birds
not one of which I ever thought to give a name.
In the tall mesquite mistaking our yard
for a spacious place, I plugged away with my pellet gun
and got them often even in the eye, for I was trained
to my craft by primordial boredom
and I suppose some generic, genetic rage
I seem to have learned to quell or kill.
They dropped like the stones I’d throw in Catclaw Creek
or fluttered spastically and panickedly up
whereupon I took more tenacious aim—
much more difficult now because they moved
—not me, frozen as if in a camera’s flash—
troubling the tyranny of the ordinary
as if a wave of meaning or unmeaning
went rippling like heat through the yard.
Fire and fire and they fell and they fall, hard.
I felt nothing, and I will not betray those days
if days are capable of being betrayed,
by pretending a pang in my larval heart
or even some starveling joy when Tuffy yelped.
I took aim at the things I could not name.
And the ditty helped.
Go here to hear the poet reading his poem and to read interesting discussion in the comments.
Posted by S. Abbas Raza at 08:27 AM | Permalink