Saturday, December 22, 2007

Anne Stevenson

Beach Kites

Anne Stevenson

Is this a new way of being born?
To feel some huge crescent personality
burgeoning out of your shoulders,
winging you over the sand, the sluggish sea?
Mile upon mile of contaminated Wash is
tucking a cold March sky into the horizon.

You can drive no further.
Look down at the thrashing water,
the upfalls of its reach
failing, failing again to take the cliff —
sandpipers hunch on the geomorphic ledge —
rock face and wave force, story without speech.

But it's one thing to pause at the cutting edge,
another to face the evolving beach, the gap
where the road stops and the dunes heap
and the wind blows fiercely in the wrong direction.

One gaudy comma ascends... another... another...
the air is rocking alert with punctuation.

Grey sickle cells cluster under a microscope.

A jumbo wasp, a pterodactyl, a peacock feather
jockey for space against moon-parings, rainbow zeppelins,
prayer flags — imagination battling with imagination,
spotted species chasing the plain — as out they float,
strong men steering their wild umbilical toys

away from their girlfriends in the car park, who
leathered from heel to neck in steel-studded black,
headscarfed against the wind, seem coolly resigned
to an old dispensation, a ritual of mating
that puts up again with the cliff-hanging habits of boys.
Is this a new way of writing?
The heroes off flying or fighting, the women waiting?

From Stone Milk

Also see.


Falstaff said...

Nice. I'm reminded of a Stallings' poem about kite flying I read recently.

Also, I'm happy for Stevenson, but the thought of waiting till one's 74 (cue Beatles' song - wait, that's sixty-four, right?) to get noticed is seriously depressing.

Space Bar said...

Falstaff: Thanks for that link. I know...isn't it? And it isn't as if she hasn't had her poems out there for ages. Sigh.