Howard Nemerov

(29 February 1920 – 5 July 1991 / New York City, New York)

The Blue Swallows


Across the millstream below the bridge
Seven blue swallows divide the air
In shapes invisible and evanescent,
Kaleidoscopic beyond the mind’s
Or memory’s power to keep them there.

“History is where tensions were,”
“Form is the diagram of forces.”
Thus, helplessly, there on the bridge,
While gazing down upon those birds—
How strange, to be above the birds!—
Thus helplessly the mind in its brain
Weaves up relation’s spindrift web,
Seeing the swallows’ tails as nibs
Dipped in invisible ink, writing…

Poor mind, what would you have them write?
Some cabalistic history
Whose authorship you might ascribe
To God? to Nature? Ah, poor ghost,
You’ve capitalized your Self enough.
That villainous William of Occam
Cut out the feet from under that dream
Some seven centuries ago.
It’s taken that long for the mind
To waken, yawn and stretch, to see
With opened eyes emptied of speech
The real world where the spelling mind
Imposes with its grammar book
Unreal relations on the blue
Swallows. Perhaps when you will have
Fully awakened, I shall show you
A new thing: even the water
Flowing away beneath those birds
Will fail to reflect their flying forms,
And the eyes that see become as stones
Whence never tears shall fall again.

O swallows, swallows, poems are not
The point. Finding again the world,
That is the point, where loveliness
Adorns intelligible things
Because the mind’s eye lit the sun.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

Form:


Do you like this poem?
3 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: history, memory, nature, power, water, dream, world, sun, god, poem

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (The Blue Swallows by Howard Nemerov )

Enter the verification code :

Read all 1 comments »

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  2. 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane
  3. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  4. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  5. If, Rudyard Kipling
  6. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  7. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  8. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  9. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  10. As I Grew Older, Langston Hughes

Poem of the Day

poet Oliver Wendell Holmes

WHAT flower is this that greets the morn,
Its hues from Heaven so freshly born?
With burning star and flaming band
It kindles all the sunset land:
...... Read complete »

   

Member Poem

New Poems

  1. Stilling to North, Arthur Sze
  2. Counting the Days, Leonard Champlin
  3. Blue or Green, James Galvin
  4. By Sun Arisen, Saiom Shriver
  5. From Weapon To Lifegiver, Saiom Shriver
  6. Ars Poetica (cocoons), Dana Levin
  7. A Self-defeating Victory, Rajesh Thankappan
  8. One With The Infinite God, Saiom Shriver
  9. I See The Ground, Naveed Akram
  10. Tears And Smiles..., Khairul Ahsan
[Hata Bildir]