A poem beginning with a line by Richard Siken

blackbird s

Blackbird, he says,
but there’s black and there’s black–
what color the feathers
the outer layer, not one
flat hue, more
changed by

and what is worn
inside, manipulated by movement
or inability to move–
what is invisibly
embraced or
abused, blood
colored by


the subtlties lost
in labels, the categories fixed
in time—if we gave
the ordinary new
mysterious names,
looked underneath
the definitions—

we could open pages
and pages
of inexplicable
and enchanted

blackbird close up s

The NaPoWriMo Day 8 prompt asks us to “start with a line by another poet”–my eyes lit up when I saw the name Richard Siken–a wonderful artist/poet.  The first line above is from “The Language of the Birds”, one of my favorite of his poems.  Click the title to read it.

crow roof 3

Art inspired by Richard Diebenkorn.


11 thoughts on “A poem beginning with a line by Richard Siken

    1. These comments are always sending themselves…
      Siken was a find. I was perusing books in the library and was first drawn to his painting on the cover. Boy do I miss my library…

      Liked by 1 person

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