THE BIRDS by Robert Creeley
for Jane and Stan Brakhage
I’ll miss the small birds that come
for the sugar you put out
and the bread crumbs. They’ve
made the edge of the sea domestic
and, as I am, I welcome that.
Nights my head seemed twisted
with dreams and the sea wash,
I let it all come quiet, waking,
counting familiar thoughts and objects.
Here to rest, like they say, I best
liked walking along the beach
past the town till one reached
the other one, around the corner
of rock and small trees. It was
clear, and often empty, and
peaceful. Those lovely ungainly
pelicans fished there, dropping
like rocks, with grace, from the air,
headfirst, then sat on the water,
letting the pouch of their beaks
grow thin again, then swallowing
whatever they’d caught. The birds,
no matter they’re not of our kind,
seem most like us here. I want
to go where they go, in a way, if
a small and common one. I want
to ride that air which makes the sea
seem down there, not the element
in which one thrashes to come up.
I love water, I love water —
but I also love air, and fire.