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On Wings of Song: Poems about Birds (Everyman's Library Pocket Poets)

by

On Wings of Song: Poems about Birds (Everyman's Library Pocket Poets) Cover

 

 

Excerpt

"Seagulls"

by John Updike

A gull, up close,

looks surprisingly stuffed.

His fluffy chest seems filled

with an inexpensive taxidermist's material

rather lumpily inserted. The legs,

unbent, are childish crayon strokes--

too simple to be workable.

And even the feather-markings,

whose intricate symmetry is the usual glory of birds,

are in the gull slovenly,

as if God makes them too many

to make them very well.

Are they intelligent?

We imagine so, because they are ugly.

The sardonic one-eyed profile, slightly cross,

the narrow, ectomorphic head, badly combed,

the wide and nervous and well-muscled rump

all suggest deskwork: shipping rates

by day, Schopenhauer

by night, and endless coffee.

At that hour on the beach

when the flies begin biting in the renewed coolness

and the backsliding skin of the after-surf

reflects a pink shimmer before being blotted,

the gulls stand around in the dimpled sand

like those melancholy European crowds

that gather in cobbled public squares in the wake

of assassinations and invasions,

heads cocked to hear the latest radio reports.

It is also this hour when plump young couples

walk down to the water, bumping together,

and stand thigh-deep in the rhythmic glass.

Then they walk back toward the car,

tugging as if at a secret between them

but which neither quite knows--

walk capricious paths through the scattering gulls,

as in some mythologies

beautiful gods stroll unconcerned

among our mortal apprehensions.

John Updike on "Seagulls":

My distinct memory is that I was pondering gulls while lying on Crane Beach in Ipswich when the first stanza came over me in a spasm of inspiration. Penless and paperless, I ran to the site of a recent beach fire and wrote in charcoal on a large piece of unburned driftwood. Then I cumbersomely carried my improvised tablet home. It must have been late in the beach season, and my final stanzas slow to ripen, for the poem's completion is dated early December.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780375407499
Editor:
McClatchy, J. D.
Publisher:
Everyman's Library
Editor:
McClatchy, J. D.
Author:
Fragos, Emily
Author:
McClatchy, J. D.
Author:
Various
Author:
J.D. McClatchy, ed.
Author:
Everyman's Library
Location:
New York :
Subject:
Anthologies (multiple authors)
Subject:
Birds
Subject:
Poetry
Subject:
Poetry (poetic works by one author)
Subject:
Single Author - British & Irish
Subject:
Poetry -Anthologies
Copyright:
Series:
Everyman's library pocket poets
Series Volume:
106-491
Publication Date:
20000331
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8 x 7 x 5 in 2.45 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Poetry
Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » Anthologies

On Wings of Song: Poems about Birds (Everyman's Library Pocket Poets) Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.95 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Everyman's Library - English 9780375407499 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , US
"Synopsis" by , A must-have collection for any animal lover. These delightful volumes from the Everymans Library Pocket Poets series contain rich and assorted cadences from poets across the centuries. With colorful cloth sewn bindings, elegant gold stamped covers, and silk ribbon markers, these books are essentials for any home library.

Titles included:

Doggerel, edited by Carmela Ciuraru

The Great Cat, edited by Emily Fragos

On Wings of Song, edited by J. D. McClatchy

Poems About Horses, edited by Carmela Ciuraru

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