Many of you have seen flocks of birds or schools of minnows acting as if they were guided by a common intelligence, turning together, stopping...
Many of you have seen flocks of birds or schools of minnows acting as if they were guided by a common intelligence, turning together, stopping together. Here is a poem by Debra Nystrom that beautifully describes a flight of swallows returning to their nests, acting as if they were of one mind. Notice how she extends the description to comment on the way human behavior differs from that of the birds.
TED KOOSER, U.S. Poet Laureate
Is it some turn of wind
that funnels them all down at once, or
Most Read Stories
- Billionaire Paul Allen pledges $30M toward permanent housing for Seattle’s homeless
- Seattle just broke a 122-year-old record for rain — because of course it did
- Is Seattle a target for a North Korean nuclear attack? Well, not quite yet, insiders say
- 2017 NFL draft: Live Seahawks updates from the first round
- Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch agrees to contract with Raiders, is traded to Oakland in exchange of 2018 draft picks
is it their own voices netting
to bring them in — the roll and churr
of hundreds searing through river light
and cliff dust, each to its precise
mud nest on the face —
none of our own isolate
groping, wishing need could be sent
so unerringly to solace. But
this silk-skein flashing is like heaven
brought down: not to meet ground
or water — to enter
the riven earth and disappear.
Reprinted from “Torn Sky,” Sarabande Books, 2004, by permission of the poet. Copyright © 2004 by Debra Nystrom, an Associate Professor of English at the University of Virginia. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry. “American Life in Poetry” appears Fridays in Northwest Life.