Poems by Margot Farrington

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If a Blackbird

by Margot Farrington

From Canary Summer 2014

Margot lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, two blocks from the tidal sweep of the East River--a major flyway for migratory birds.

If a blackbird--wing’s flare-red and
cream-crescent out of sight,
his streaky mate tucked
in long grasses--

if a blackbird, his oak-a-lee
contained in his whistle-box,
bends stem after stem to bring down
moons of phantom, waning dandelions

if a blackbird---help me, please,
I am repetition and so is he--
if a blackbird ducks his pure night head
in early morning sun
down to a foot, also dark,
to eat the spread of starry seeds

to feast on the bounty of this day,
may we take it as a sign
to make him magician of every appearance
miraculous and simple?

He conjures this arch of blue held
by keystone of birdsong,
the separate, shining welcome
from each leaf, each blade of grass.

Through him we inhale lilac,
exhale hayfield, as he pulls
handkerchief memories
bright-lined through our minds.

From his epaulet, tiny strawberries
fall to our tranced fingers,
that in the grotto of our mouths we may
taste what is wildest.

And to us he transfers his heat:
sweet coal of summer sun, that our
touch might ignite each other to flames
upon the cool bed.
For he commands our amazing hands,
and all they may do this day.

And if a blackbird, at day's end,
returns to the round of the
new nest, open as a mouth
at the wonders of the world--
if a blackbird, who knows nothing
of what we are forced to know,

swallows only the precious moments
starry and single - purposed as seeds and
converts them by way of his song
to paradise as he knows it,

what should we do but follow him?

When he folds his wings upon the flight
Da Vinci once dreamed, he sways on a reed,
tuning himself in the hush. A breeze
unfolds; he dips and rows with a few notes
liquidly towards twilight.

O, let us have whatever of him
we can possibly manage, let us strive
to loosen our complexities, come
to a place still and serene--
keeping as best we can
within the little clearing of now.

Previously published in the author's book Scanning For Tigers (Free Scholar Press, 2014)

Promethea Moth

by Margot Farrington

From Canary Spring 2014

On her wings she wore eyes of surprise, and was herself
an optic confection, for the hand of the moth god had
sugared her scant but sprinkled cinnamon without stint.
Caught, she beat like a book, pages flipped by wind.
No spider rushed to where she spun, tethered by gobbet
and thread. She’d snuff by exhaustion, dancing the
twirl-to-tatters waltz, fastened
trickily by one forewing so

how to loose but not to tear her?
Painter’s wife, I chose a brush
as from the Nether-Wherever,
Turner and Constable watched my strokes. Marin
pursed his mouth as I worked further under her
wing. When she dropped in the little bucket
cleaned for this maneuver, Kline and De Kooning
grinned. You secured the plastic lid, then handed
me her prison. Attuned, I registered no flutter,
yet each step felt seismic.

The bark good for camouflage, only a cherry tree
would do. Not this tree, I said, not that one,
as we crossed the lane, the downed fence. Did I say she
was big as a child’s hand, that our night light
drew her? Did I mention how she began as it,
strove awhile as he, how somewhere in the struggle he
morphed to emerge as she? Our theory of her sex
determined solely by the drama.

She clung a minute to the tree we chose.
Closed. Opened, throbbing slow. She flared,
flew us to field’s edge, and then she let us go.

Reprinted from Scanning For Tiger, (Free Scholar Press, 2014).

The Muskrat

by Margot Farrington

From Canary Fall 2014

While I stood watching, the water began to well,
yielding up circle after circle, and presently
the sorcerer rose sleekly from beneath
and broke the surface. Not the end of the spell

but the outset, beguiled by the way the dark
head plied the blacker surface and the back’s
bit of island followed wherever it led. From the
bank above, I spied down. I had embarked

without knowing upon my own erasure. Gone
into ripples ringing outward. Dipped in bliss.
Water like ink held me in a world unwritten.
The buoyant one shimmered and shone.

Previously published in BigCityLit, and in Scanning For Tigers, Free Scholar Press, 2014.

White Doe

by Margot Farrington

From Canary Fall 2013

* The Celts considered white deer to be messengers from The Otherworld

This is the closest you’ll ever
come to a unicorn. (Breathe, don’t
breathe behind your
window of hemlocks).

Luminous doe in failing light,
among dark others. Listening.
About to turn,
find you out, and speak.

Don’t think; she’ll hear you. Don’t
move a perceptible inch.
Conspiracies of twigs lie
cocked to sound pistol shots.

Why does she summon up old loves
stunning as these first flakes,
settling one by clear-cut one
upon your jacket sleeves?

They whirl and run--she’s torn from
you--a page from your journal, but
which one, what day of your
life whose moments ignite

this one? Sunset forces the
clouds apart with sudden
phoenix-light; contrasted flakes
read like ash, blown from huge fires.

Previously published in San Pedro River Review.
Photo by Gary Robertson flickr.com/photos/garytrinity/

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