Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Verse of the Day - Kenneth Rexrox

Gic to Hir by Kenneth Rexrox

It is late at night, cold and damp
The air is filled with tobacco smoke.
My brain is worried and tired.
I pick up the encyclopedia,
The volume GIC to HAR,
It seems I have read everything in it,
So many other nights like this.
I sit staring empty-headed at the article Grosbeak,
Listening to the long rattle and pound
Of freight cars and switch engines in the distance.
Suddenly I remember
Coming home from swimming
In Ten Mile Creek,
Over the long moraine in the early summer evening,
My hair wet, smelling of waterweeds and mud.
I remember a sycamore in front of a ruined farmhouse,
And instantly and clearly the revelation
Of a song of incredible purity and joy,
My first rose-breasted grosbeak,
Facing the low sun, his body
Suffused with light.
I was motionless and cold in the hot evening
Until he flew away, and I went on knowing
In my twelfth year one of the great things
Of my life had happened.
Thirty factories empty their refuse in the creek.
On the parched lawns are starlings, alien and aggressive.
And I am on the other side of the continent
Ten years in an unfriendly city.


  1. Well David I think the message of this writer has to do with looking out the right window. One day I was looking out my window and saw this and got as excited as the author here;

  2. oh sorry Suzzy - I was being dense. So that's a grosbeak. I've never seen one before

  3. They really are a beautiful bird with a lovely song. I think it's great that somebody actually composed verse about this wonderful bird and you brought it to my attention.