Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tuesday Poem - BIRD by Pablo Neruda

                        It was passed from one bird to another,
                        the whole gift of the day.
                        The day went from flute to flute,
                        went dressed in vegetation,
                        in flights which opened a tunnel
                        through the wind would pass
                        to where birds were breaking open
                        the dense blue air -
                        and there, night came in.

                        When I returned from so many journeys,
                        I stayed suspended and green
                        between sun and geography -
                        I saw how wings worked,
                        how perfumes are transmitted
                        by feathery telegraph,
                        and from above I saw the path,
                        the springs and the roof tiles,
                        the fishermen at their trades,
                        the trousers of the foam;
                        I saw it all from my green sky.
                        I had no more alphabet
                        than the swallows in their courses,
                        the tiny, shining water
                        of the small bird on fire
                        which dances out of the pollen. 
                   Pablo Neruda

Tui - photograph by Pippa Howard (my sister who came to Dunedin three weeks ago - first visit in 15 years!)


This week's editor on the Tuesday Poem hub is Helen Lowe
with All my life 

                          "So we sat, and the waves
                          crashed in like gifts, or insults. . . "

Birds is my final Tuesday Poem for 2012. What a year it has been: joys juxtaposed with terrors,  madness with miracles. Poetry provides a container for Life in all its crudeness and subtlety. Like music and the visual arts, it has an unsurpassable capacity to be both protest and prayer, rational and lyrical, cerebral and mystical. Poetry is balm. It is shaman. It is connection. And it is healing. 

Heartfelt thanks to Mary McCallum - unfaltering helmsman of our TP boat - for her remarkable dedication not only to poetry but also to us - poets and readers of Tuesday Poems. As far as I know nothing quite like our TP community is to be found 'elsewhere'. Without Mary, TP would not exist. I know I am not alone when I say how much I appreciate her constancy, her generosity of spirit and her zeal. I can't think of a week that's passed when our small community has not received welcome word from dear Mary. Come hell or high water, she is present; witty, humorous, big-hearted and supportive. You are a rare bird, Mary McC! This ecclectic little chorus of critters is singing their appreciation to you. . .  xo 


“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act … in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous thing. . . " – Howard Zinn  


  1. Thank you Claire - Neruda is one of my all-time favourite poets. Thank you too for your words about the TP and Mary - I echo everything you've said.

  2. this is a lovely post, claire.
    happy new year to you, smooth sailing...starlit seas.

  3. Claire sweetheart I have tears in my eyes. Thank you. We are a remarkable community because of our component parts - every week I am freshly amazed by our poets and the poems selected and the comments made. So many poems given fresh space on Tuesday Poem. Thank you for all you do for me co-curator in your inclusiveness and creativity and clear sight and kindness. Merry Christmas (and thank you for Bird, what a poem). Mary xx

  4. Hello Claire,
    I love 'Bird' Have just been sitting by a lake watching the birds get ready for bed...ducks, pukekos, shags, herons and lots of others:-)
    And I also enjoyed all your wisdom lovely pics. Have a great Christmas and New Year, filled with lots of inspiration and bird songs.