Thursday, January 28, 2010

Not Knowing Why

Text by Leon Wing
Poem by Ann Struthers

Not Knowing Why

Adolescent white pelicans squawk, rustle, flap their wings,
lift off in a ragged spiral at imaginary danger.
What danger on this island in the middle
of Marble Lake? They’re off to feel
the lift of wind under their iridescent wings,
because they were born to fly,
because they have nothing else to do,
because wind and water are their elements,
their Bach, their Homer, Shakespeare,
and Spielberg. They wheel over the lake,
the little farms, the tourist village with their camera eyes.

In autumn something urges
them toward Texas marshes. They follow
their appetites and instincts, unlike the small beetles
creeping along geometric roads, going toward small boxes,
toward lives as narrow or as wide as the pond,
as glistening or as gray as the sky.
They do not know why. They fly, they fly.


Why do animals do the things they do, really?  Not being human they do not have any agenda nor reasons for their actions, do they?  Well, they just do, is all. 

And why do the movies, and movie makers like Spielberg, endow animals with human characteristics?  So that humans watching can relate or make a connection when watching them in the film?

Which is why in the first line even the poet imbues the pelicans flying off from the island in Marble Lake with human qualities, as if they are really some adolescents, like our human equivalents. But these feathered adolescents are not very graceful, at the beginning. They “squawk, rustle, flap” and then “lift off in a ragged spiral at imaginary danger”.

The balking at the end of “squawk” tells us how akward their take-off is. As they gain height, they become less so, as “rustle” tells us.  Then “flap” and “lift”, with their l sounds, tell us they’re off and flying smoothly now. Or are they, with “ragged spiral at imaginary danger”:  danger./What danger?

After this question mark, the pelicans continue their flight smoothly.  And the reader can feel this unruffleness, reading the soft and lulling r’s, f’s, l’s and w’s in “They’re off to feel/the lift of wind under their iridescent wings”.

The three “because”s bring us humans down back to earth, to realize why these pelicans fly so.  At the break, after “Spielberg”, with a full-stop, like a cut-to in a film, we see them fly, effortlessly, again, reading the repeating of the  w’s, l’s and f consonants and the long vowels in “They wheel over the lake,/the little farms”. “little” , followed, a word later, by a comma marks the sight of the tourist village from a bird’s eye view.

The second stanza explains more about why the birds fly away, even when there is no danger. The explanation: none, really; besides just hunger and animal instincts, just like the ground-moving animals. 

The last two lines are a symphony of rhymes: possible off-rhymes in "gray" and "sky"; full rhymes in "they", "they", "they", and "sky", "why", "fly", "fly".  They simulate the many birds up in the sky, flying.

They just fly, is all. 


This poem first appeared in the Coe Review, Vol. 39, no. 1, in 2008.

Recent work of Ann Struthers:
What You Try to Tame, The Coe Review Press, 2004

Labels: ,


Anonymous Lirik Lagu said...

waduh. suka sih puisi. tapi kok boso londo semua? salam kenal

11:49 AM, July 24, 2010  
Anonymous irishpoetry said...

An absolutely excellent poem, deeply rooted in a love for nature. Super beautiful the flow of words. Thanks for sharing.

3:08 AM, October 04, 2010  
Blogger Christine Tjarlie said...

Anda Bosan Menjadi Pemain Dan Ingin Menjadi Bandar??? Temukan Solusinya Hanya Di

Penawaran Special Dari PesonaQQ Untuk Anda Yang Bergabung Hari Ini Juga :

=>> Bonus Turnover 0.3% - 0.5% (Perhari)
=>> Bonus Referensi 20% (Seumur Hidup)

Keuntungan Anda Yang Bergabung Bersama Kami Di PesonaQQ :

*Data Anda Aman Bersama Kami
*Pelayanan Customer Service Yang Ramah 24/7
*Tersedia 8 Permainan Dalam 1 Web Yang Sesuai Dengan Skill Anda (Poker, Domino QQ, Capsa Susun, Adu Q, Bandar Q & Bandar Poker)
*Bonus TURNOVER Yang Melimpah & Bonus REFERENSI Yang Berlaku Seumur Hidup
*Hanya Dengan 1 Akun Anda Sudah Bisa Bermain Semua Game Di

Kalau Bukan Sekarang Kapan Lagi???

Ayok Tunjukkan Skill Anda Sekarang Juga, Hanya Di PesonaQQ.

12:12 PM, October 14, 2018  
Blogger Unknown said...

togel online
judi togel online

3:43 PM, June 20, 2019  

Post a Comment

<< Home