Tempo for a Winged Instrument

By Katharine Coles Katharine Coles
Full of light and music, the beating air.  

Light like a bird, Calvino says, not a feather.  

Over the water the shags come in to land

All wings, uh-ohing over the cliffs.

Rock, their nests, and bare the rookeries.  

Blue eye, blue eye, the wind plays fast and sharp.

They lift and ride and do not pick their fights.  

Oh, blue sky, blue day. Heart

Of muscle, thrumming down, and swift.

Source: Poetry (July/August 2012).


This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

July/August 2012
 Katharine  Coles


Poet, novelist, and editor Katharine Coles earned a BA at the University of Washington, an MA at the University of Houston, and a PhD at the University of Utah.
Coles is the author of several collections of poetry, including Fault (2008), Utah Book Award winner The Golden Years of the Fourth Dimension (2001), and The One Right Touch (1992). She is also the author of the novels Fire Season (2005) and The Measurable World . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Animals

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Poetic Terms Mixed

Report a problem with this poem

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.