If a poem can be said to dance, this lovely, lovely one . . . dances. It’s by Nick Laird and was in the Oct 14, 2010 New York Review of Books.
Vespers at Pacifico’s
People have no interest in the slightest
but those are swifts dipping down
to lift off milli-sips of kinking
restive on the surface now re-rippled
by the beak one forks
at the closest interstitial moment.
It snips the pool minutely.
The tail is short compared to the swallow
and swifts have sythe-like wings –
it cannot land so spends its life aloft,
declining, sometimes, into mine.
A woodpecker makes itself distinct
from a distance. Its brisk retort
on dead oak trunk is instinct, and this
its district, and this its call to
order, and this its palate cleanser. Nothing
but a woodpecker organizes so
much energy in such a tiny space, then quits.
It flits again, is gone quick and
then again and again high, in the cedars,
behind the pavilion. There is this
energy. Bewildering. In real time I lag
behind il tempo vero as the well-
thumbed world slides out of true again.
Abruptly cicadas in concert switch
off, and it’s only endless till it’s not,
till the sun consents and bats come.