Cody Simpson

Rookie (April 26,1985 / Farmington, MO)

The Waxwing Slain


The unseeing waxwing which once was slain
By the false azure of the windowpane
Has picked up his shadow and carried on
Past the wilderness of that crystal lawn.

Drunk on berries, he had mistook the glass
For the heavens through which once he had passed;
The reflections of the cerulean sky
Formed a mirage that fooled the waxwing’s eye.

Fallen then back to the snow-covered ground,
Become silent with nary chirp or sound,
The stilled bird lay bleeding upon the white,
Unmoving still as day turned into night.

Thus I rose to the place where once I saw
The waxwing race through the bleak ice’s thaw.
I took in my hands that form without breath
And cast it high, that it see not death.

Submitted: Sunday, August 05, 2007
Edited: Saturday, March 26, 2011

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  • Rookie Cody Simpson (8/19/2007 3:43:00 PM)

    To avoid confusion about 'Charles Kinbote's' comments, allow me to state the obvious for anyone who is well-read: this poem is based on the opening canto of the eponymous poem found in Vladimir Nabokov's novel 'Pale Fire.' It is, to a certain extent, a reimagining of the experiences of John Shade, one of the novel's characters and the poet who writes the opening canto in question. Under the names of Vladimir Nabokov and the aforementioned Kinbote (the other main character of the novel) , this gentlemen who has left this comment has been harassing me about the literary value of my poem, suggesting that it has even been plagiarized directly from the book. While I admit to an homage to Nabokov and his wonderful character (also the poem itself, which is greatly overlooked from a literary perspective) , his suggestion of plagiarism does not rest lightly on my conscience, or my temper. I invite all who read this poem to read the novel as well and make up their own minds as to my degree of originality. As to my talent as a poet, I believe that is a subjective question to be decided by the individual, though Mr. 'Nabokov's' characterization of my work as 'the literary essence of shit' is, I feel, vastly unjust. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Charles kinbote (8/19/2007 1:11:00 PM)

    The image in these opening lines evidently refers to a bird knocking itself out, in full flight, against the outer surface of a glass pane in which a mirrored sky, with its slightly darker tint and slightly slower cloud, presents the illusion of continued space. We can visualize [Cody Simpson] in his early boyhood, a physically unattractive but otherwise beautifully developed lad, experiencing his first eschatological shock, as with incredulous fingers he picks up from the turf that compact ovoid body and gazes at the wax-red streaks ornamenting those gray-brown wings and at the graceful tail feathers tipped with yellow as bright as fresh paint. (Report) Reply

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