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Saturday, November 16, 2019

The 'Music' of Poetry

“Poems 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

American poet, critic and translator, Charles Kenneth “C.K.,” Williams, born in November 1936, won nearly every major poetry award including the 1987 National Book Critics Circle Award for Flesh and Blood, the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Repair, the 2003 National Book Award for The Singing, and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for lifetime achievement.    For Saturday’s Poem, here is Williams’ narrative poem,


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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