Not the thing itself, only ideas


after Wallace Stevens

Snagged on the headland’s ironstone the storm drains the bay. The water’s surface is electric (with possibility), rain inscribes Pythagorean forms – trios, polygons, hedrons – onto the second-rate swell.

He looks back to the shore and dimly sees a procession of his older self – shoulders hunched in parkas, wet dog stink, tramping loose sand.

A pair of whip birds in the hinterland exchange lightning cracks.

Inverted among the flowering myrtles, an Eastern Spinebill investigates each floret, its parabolic beak axiomatic that the more perfect world is right here in the grey, the haze, the slap of incoherent waves.

Here the fourth day of Spring,
cold as winter
but blossoms everywhere.

Image: patrickkavanagh on Flickr, Eastern Spinebill (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris), I’m on a bit of a bird kick at the moment. Here’s Wallace Stevens’ wonderful poem. A haibun for dverse, the poets’ pub where Mish is hosting and asks about our morning.

20 thoughts on “Not the thing itself, only ideas

  1. I’m loving the energy of this poem and the geometry rich with possibility and creatures bisecting on planar worlds and that you make us see the axiom of random chaos being just as beautiful as ordered structure. It’s a visually stunning poem, Peter. I will read it again and again.

    Liked by 1 person

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