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Dorothy Livesay

Livesay’s “For the New Yearâ€?

Though I’ve heard it argued rather convincingly that poetry about poetry should be banned, Dorothy Livesay has a couple of poems about poetry I liked quite a lot. My favorite is

FOR THE NEW YEAR

Stamped in the throat
bird song
biologists say
is inevitable
as that beak that eye
that red wing
is not learned
is born with the bird.

Perhaps then there’s another
dimension behind our learned
word patterns …
perhaps an infinite song
sways in our throats
yet to be heard?

This poem strangely reminds me of the first poem I ever willingly memorized, Hardy’s “The Darkling Thrush“ which may partially explain my affinity for it.

Of course, my recent fascination with bird photography has also attuned my ear to the complex bird songs that fill the wilderness air, and it’s not hard to imagine that the beauty of these songs attracts mates to the same extent it attracts human listeners.

Could it perhaps be true that each of us has an “infinite song� waiting to be heard, that we’re all poets waiting to burst forth in song?