have a different music from ordinary language, and every poem has a different
kind of music of necessity. That's, in a
way, the hardest thing about writing poetry; waiting for that music, and
sometimes you never know if it's going to come.”
– C.K. Williams
Charles Kenneth “C.K.,” Williams – who was born in November 1936 (he died in 2015) – won nearly every major poetry award including the National Book Critics Circle Award for Flesh and Blood, the Pulitzer Prize for Repair, the National Book Award for The Singing, and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for lifetime achievement. Fellow poet Stanley Kunitz wrote, “C. K. Williams is a wonderful poet, in the authentic American tradition of Walt Whitman and William Carlos Williams, who tells us on every page what it means to be alive in our time.” For Saturday’s Poem, here is Williams’,
The heron methodically pacing like an old-time librarian down the stream through the patch of woods at the end of the field, those great wings tucked in as neatly as clean sheets, is so intent on keeping her silence, extracting one leg, bending it like a paper clip, placing it back, then bending the other, the first again, that her concentration radiates out into the listening world, and everything obediently hushes, the ragged grasses that rise from the water, the light-sliced vault of sparkling aspens.
Then abruptly a flurry, a flapping, her lifting from the gravitied earth, her swoop out over the field, her banking and settling on a lightning-stricken oak, such a gangly, unwieldy contraption up there in the barkless branches, like a still Adam's-appled adolescent; then the cry, cranky, coarse, and wouldn't the waiting world laugh aloud if it could with glee?
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