Monday, June 9, 2008

The Shadows of Birds: 64

Yannis Ritsos

He saw the shadows of birds
upon the grass
he tried to measure the distance
between the bird and its shadow
an uncertain distance
later on
he set his keys on the table
closed his eyes
gave up measuring
he smiled to himself
inside the immeasurable
the obedience and devoutness
of mortality.

Athens—June 8, 1980

note: This is the final poem of this sequence. The Shadows of Birds, like other such sequences that Ritsos wrote, resembles a string of beads or a deck of cards, the small poems producing a cumulative effect as they arc through different themes and the poet's daily preoccupations. S.K.

from The Shadows of Birds (1980) [Collected Poems: IDelta ---pg 374]

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