Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Sparrow

This sparrow

                who comes to sit at my window

                                is a poetic truth

more than a natural one.

                His voice,

                                his movements,

his habits—

                how he loves to

flutter his wings

in the dust—

                all attest it;

                                granted, he does it

to rid himself of lice

                but the relief he feels

                                makes him

cry out lustily—

                which is a trait

                                more related to music

than otherwise.

                Wherever he finds himself

                                In early spring,

on back streets

                or besides palaces,

                                he carries on


                his amours.

                                It begins in the egg,

his sex genders it:

                What is more pretentiously


or about which

                We more pride ourselves?

                                It leads as often as not

to our undoing.

                The cockerel, the crow

                                With their challenging voices

cannot surpass

                the insistence

                                of his cheep!


                At El Paso

                                Toward evening,

I saw—and heard!—

                ten thousand sparrows

                                who had come in from

the desert

                to roost.  They filled the trees

                                of a small park.  Men fled

(with ears ringing!)

                from their droppings,

                                leaving the premises

to the alligators

                who inhabit

                                the fountain.  His image

is familiar

                as that of the aristocratic

                                unicorn, a pity

there are not more oats eaten


                                to make living easier

for him.

                At that,

                                His small size,

keen eyes,

                serviceable beak

                                and general truculence

assure his survival—

                to say nothing

                                of his innumerable


                Even the Japanese

                                know him

and have painted him


                                with profound insight

into his minor


                                Nothing even remotely


                about his lovemaking.

                                He crouches

before the female,

                drags his wings,


throws back his head

                and simply—

                                yells! The din

is terrific.

                The way he swipes his bill

                                across a plank

to clean it,

                is decisive.

                                So with everything

he does.  His coppery


                                give him the air

of being always

                a winner—and yet

                                I saw one,

the female of his species

                clinging determinedly

                                to the edge of

a water pipe,

                catch him

                                by his crown-feathers

to hold him



hanging above the city streets


                                she was through with him.

What was the use

                of that?

                                She hung there


                puzzled at her success.

                                I laughed heartily.

Practical to the end,

                It is a poem of his existence

that triumphed


                                a wisp of feathers

flattened to the pavement,       

                wings spread symmetrically

                                as if in flight,

the head gone,

                the black escutcheon of the breast


an effigy of a sparrow,

                a dried wafer only,

                                left to say

and it says it

                without offense,


This was I,

                a sparrow,

                                I did my best;


by:  William Carlos Williams
Copied, pasted and loved by:  Homeless with a Laptop, That is My Name

No comments:

Post a Comment