Wednesday, June 16, 2010

wind's teeth

Walking down 5th St. on the way to talk to the school guidance counselor about NYC public HS options for my daughter this circle caught my eye. It belongs to a book, a textbook on poetry someone set on their stoop for the taking. This is common practice here in Brooklyn. Never in my life have I seen a textbook on this subject. I opened at random and found The Manoeuvre by William Carlos Williams.

I saw two starlings
coming in toward the wires
But at the last,
Just before alighting, they

turned in the air together
and landed backwards!
that's what got me - to
face into the wind's teeth.

Here in Brooklyn European Starlings are everywhere. When they fly you can see they don't have a lot of wing but what they lack in wings they make up for in galaxies of tiny white speckles. Half the year their beaks are black but in spring they turn yellow to impress each other. Yellow lipstick anyone? They've been on this continent for only about 120 years since 100 were let loose in Central Park by an industrialist who wanted to bring to the New World every bird mentioned in Shakespeare.

They're not going anywhere, so why not learn from them? I like the idea of making WCW's starlings one's guru in the discipline of facing off against the forces that drive you - becoming conscious of the unconscious and powerful tendencies that we are all subject to. I notice in meditation that thoughts often ride in on winds of strong emotions that sneak in, taking the clear living mirror of a lucid mind and turning it into a crumpled ball of paper mired with the same old choking dust of fear and resentment.

I have found it exhilarating to watch these internal winds arise without letting them harden into words that reduce the mystery to falseness.

*image by Martin for Poems to Remember by Dorothy Petitt, Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc.

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