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Tempo for a Winged Instrument

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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)

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

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Tempo for a Winged Instrument

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