by Richard Schiffman

Richard Schiffman

How from the doldrums of the day
they tumbled; only swallows skimming treetops.
Yet no wheeling eagle could compete
with this sudden squall of sickle wings,
roller coasters sprung from nowhere,
or conjured from the air itself, pouring
in from everywhere like rain.
No ordered flock, but schools of comets
spinning tails of flame. Arsonists
lighting the sodden woodlands,
and the greenwood of myself halfway
through an August afternoon.

They did not stay to fan the fire,
so I sprouted wings of words and joined them,
keen to learn what flying means--
not dragging wings through air as geese do,
pumping steady over oceans; nor like egrets,
snow-white flappers floating on the sky’s
black river; and nothing like the owl
I saw today slide deathly mute
through mazy pines.

These masters lack what swallows
effortlessly effuse: not skill, nor grace,
but thrill and simmer. Flying exclamation points
darting from no place to no place fast,
banking and swerving like dervishes, like
shards of light, bouncing on the trampoline
of air. As if flight were not a flapping habit,
but a dizzy calling, less a way of moving
than of falling constantly into astonishment--
then catching themselves midair and winging off
to join the reeling flock.

Richard Schiffman's picture

I am a spiritual author and a former journalist who started writing poetry a few years back. I’m glad that I did! For me writing and reading poetry has become a meditation, a way to become reacquainted with my own deeper self. In these pages I’ll share with you some of my own recent work, as well as my reflections on “the poetry of the Spirit.” Most of all I’ll offer links to some favorite contemporary poems and poets, places where you can begin your own exploration into this rich and exciting world.

Last updated April 19, 2015