Saturday, March 23, 2013

Richard Schiffman: "Watching the Birdwatcher"

She peers through a pair of binoculars
into a treetop lit with day’s last blaze,
where some bird alights unseen by me.
Her gaze poised so tremulous and light,
as if resting upon a twig—looking, looking
at the bird that we don’t see. The bird in the tree,
and the seer of the bird sharing for the stainless present
the same slender branch. She stands stock-still.
Expecting nothing. Neither bird, nor bird watcher, nor air
are moving. Nor I, as I watch her, as she watches the bird—
all hung weightless and timeless and spaceless. Perched
upon this dimensionless brink. The twig could not bear
any more load than this bare awareness. If, therefore,
you would not spook the bird, nor snap the twig,
nor shatter this spun glass globe of air, then alight upon
the world like air, like breath. And do not linger any longer
than this bird watcher who now strolls off, the bird still hidden,
still lost in shadow. Forgetting the bird, forgetting herself.
Dissolving like an apparition into twilight’s final bay.
Only this poem still holding on. Foolish poem
grasping at the ungraspable world.

"Watching the Birdwatcher" by Richard Schiffman. First published in In Posse Review, Issue 25.

Photograph: Detail from "Woman Birdwatching" by Ariana Murphy (originally color).



  1. Another great poem with a wonderful image. I have noticed in my short time with the blog that is not uncommon to see an image of a painting as part of the daily offering. I wonder how you know of them? Or find them?

    1. Lots of searching on the internet. Glad you're enjoying the posts!


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