Ordinary surface bird

8 October 2018

In the language of the Haida people of the Pacific Northwest, the word for human translates rather superbly as ‘ordinary surface bird’, a fact I picked up from Robert Bringhurst’s book, ‘A Story as Sharp as a Knife’.


An ordinary surface bird,
ugly with the drain of gravity, heard
that ancients paint from a new perspective,
from within the husks of bones and papier mache
skulls, that they witness terrible night
squeezed by a laughing sun, see stones and streams
rendered as pores and capillaries
on faces living at the foot of bottles, of dreams.
And so the bird began to mirror from above,
describing, with burgeoning psalms of mathematical
love, how bigness seems to the unfettered eye
of raven, crow or dove.


Have your say: