Heaven's lips! I dreamed
of a page in a book containing the word bird and I
Bird grinds on,
grinds on, thrusting against black. Thrusting
wings, thrusting again, hard
banks slap against it either side, that bird was exhausted.
Still, beating, working its way and below in dark woods
at food with scrawny lips.
Lips at night.
Nothing guiding it, bird beats on, night wetness on it.
A lion looks up.
Smell of adolescence in these creatures, this ordinary
night for them. Astonishment
inside me like a separate person,
sweat-soaked. How to grip.
For some people a bird sings, feathers shine. I just get this this.
This poem is from Decreation, published by Jonathan Cape in 2006. Anne Carson is a Canadian poet, essayist, translator, classicist and professor. With more than twenty books of writings and translations published to date, Carson was awarded Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellowships, has won the Lannan Literary Award, two Griffin Poetry Prizes, the T. S. Eliot Prize, the Princess of Asturias Award, the Governor General's Award for English-language poetry and the PEN/Nabokov Award. She was also appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2005 for her contribution to Canadian letters. Her latest book, The Trojan Women: a comic was published by Bloodaxe in 2021.