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Arachne: A Literary Journal. No. 1

Kendrick Smithyman — Song

Kendrick Smithyman


Nor separation nor nearness
are, of us, other than we are
whose affections always meeting
not moved by distances grow
towards their entwining, share,
if an aerial path could show,
the terns' characters lighting
that brilliant summer air
when the flocks beat a shoal water
and none from its mate moves far,
but their flight winds up and through
to net the bright summer haze
in a beat of wings and a glance
confounding sense in the haze,
and the birds are lost in their dance,
dance and the birds become
one with the summer air.
What meaning, then, for distance,
for nearness or separation,
for together or apart?
When, from the risen morning
off-shore on some island, start
those interweavings of flight
they grow no closer together
nor further are when the night
softens their wing-beat, turns
them back to their nest, nation
on nation of sea birds homing,
and their cry the evening mourns,
confusing the light and the sound,
mingling a sense with a sense,
and light and cry and flock are wound
a lost bird threading its dance.