Four Way of Looking at a Homeland

Embarcadero backwards
lady firefighter in Victorian dress
bronze plaques trailing behind us

At the Ferry Building, I explode in hunger
sad-eyed, you explore on your own

On the terrace,
             a seagull as big as my head
begs, expectant
        then pigeons
                 a corbin I’ve never seen before
     (blue-black, but not a grackle)
puffs his feathers and collapses
making a noise that makes us laugh

Muir Woods. Scottish father
Mother from the deep
In silence we repair, foot-sore,
the light that shines between us

In the mist all things are possible
trees mightier than the sword
walk far enough and you will find silence

Road a sacred spiral
there the stand of eucalyptus
there the hills
there the fog
there the houses
there the ocean

The elk, unexpected, in the hills of St. Helena
regard us without much interest

raptors on the wind above hills
tall as mountains
gentle as hips
wider than a mouth can contain

8 Replies to “Four Way of Looking at a Homeland”

  1. nice…the second is my fav…and probably the most straight forward…but i really like repairing hte light between us…that is really cool…the first one is really cool as well…i like the bit of humor at the sound at the end…these are all really cool…

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Brian. This draft is significantly different than the first. I got some very good feedback from my writing group. They suggested that perhaps the poem ends at the second stanza. And I can see how that might be true for artistic unity, bla bla bla, but I had more to say. We’ll see how I feel about it in six months 🙂

    1. Thanks, Claudia. Wallace Stevens’ Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird was party of the inspiration. It’s a fairly famous poem and has been riffed on before, but I’ve often felt a connection with his work. And we both spent time in Hartford.

      But the different perspectives, the different angles, as you put it, was also very important. And there literally ARE so many kinds of blackbirds. The corvidae family ( ) seems to have a pretty big and far-flung family tree. Not that I’m an expert on bird identification, but I’m fond of the many myths and stories about crows and their ilk.

  2. I love Wallace Stevens’ “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”, it was what I first thought of when I saw your poem. I think your riffs on the idea of a homeland is perfectly conceived, and while I agree somewhat with your writing group, the biggest part of me says, well done! and in fact encourages you to find even more ways to look at a homeland.

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