Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Bluest Bird

The Bluest Bird

The bluest bird I ever saw was in the middle of the road,

And I, going forty-five on a lane made for fifteen,

Couldn’t stop in time to take a good look, so a quick flit

Of true blue was all I saw lifting into the morning air.

Even I thought it strange that I managed to see the silver and blue

Of the can an oncoming driver lifted as he squeezed past

And the blue sky mirrored in another driver’s shades,

But the shade of the ruby breast on that bluest bird,

I missed, moving way too fast on a road not made for speed

On a silvery morning, missing, too, the tender notes

From a throat that could have lifted me high into a sky so blue

It might have hurt my eyes.


  1. a sure sign to have to slow down is when you miss and trade a phenomenon like this for a man-made one.
    especially when the path you're on was designed for a speed of 15 :P
    take it literally or not, as you please

  2. Nice poem. I especially like the last three lines, also the contrast with the natural and the man made blues!

  3. i simply love this poem. sometimes we do miss that one thing and wish we hadn't, it stays with us- lingering. if only we'd slow down a bit we could hold that moment a little closer to our hearts. have a great day.

  4. Loved this. The movement, the movement through the poem, the recurring blues and, as Niamh says, those glorious, insightful, moving final three lines.

  5. This reads and breathes like a Mary Oliver poem. I'm happily jealous of it!!

  6. A lovely poem--time to slow down & see the beauty around us!

  7. i am so guilty of this - moving too fast, watching out for claptrap that might slow me down, missing the beautiful things worth slowing down for. it's a vicious cycle, isn't it?

    i also love the end - having not heard a note, but knowing they were there - a little salt in the wound.

    i'm also guilty of driving too fast. but i don't see that changing anytime soon.

  8. SzelsoFa - You are so right. Telling oneself and actually heeding one's own advice are two different things!

    Niamh B - Thank you!

    Naquillity - We know it, but we certainly don't do it often enough. I wish I could remember to remember!

    Titus - Thank you!

    Teressa - Mary Oliver is my all-time favorite poet, so you can only imagine my reaction to your comment. Ear to ear!

    John - Now to do it!

    joaquin - Do you think this is a curse of our modern age? I wonder if it was always thus.

    Thanks for your insightful comment on the ending.

  9. So much is like that, isn't it? Gone before it was really here.

  10. This poem is a great reminder of the benefits of slowing down, not only in driving, but in life. My husband likes to ride a bike; I like to walk a trail, rather than ride, so I don't miss anything, and I can stop, if I hear a bird or the rustle of a creature, hoping I will see them. I enjoyed the poem, and your title, too, making something that could be commonplace, elusive.

  11. Interesting way to incorporate driving and seeing a blue bird. The picture by the way is fantastic. I'm a sucker for all things "blue."

  12. The details were inventive:
    45 made for 15, the other driver, reflection,
    and it wasn't just a blue bird,
    it was the bluest.

    I like that it a reasonable concept that takes me to fresh places.

  13. This poem was the bluest of the blues.
    I liked it.

  14. difficult to birdwatch while driving I imagine, I don't drive myself though... I enjoyed the poem!

  15. Karen, I love how you squeeze down on moments that fly by most of us. Even here, when you're lamenting the "quick flit," you're slowing down, with reflection, and capturing it like any great photographer of time, scene, and memory. You imprinted the bluest of blues in those feathers for the rest of us to linger over.

    I found the last three lines particularly poignant. To know the music is there--and not to hear it--is the truest regret. Beautiful.

  16. I like being the passenger. That way I get to see all the things I want with no worry of hitting anything. When I do drive, I still try to sneak in as much as I can.
    You've managed to capture this catch-22 very well, Karen.

  17. jason - Unfortunately, yes.

    Annie - Biking and hiking are wonderful ways to get yourself into nature. My husband and I used to walk on a lovely country road every day. Lately, we've been too busy, and we both miss the benefits, physical and spiritual. Spiritual most of all.

    Quackster - True story, I'm afraid. Ashamed, really.

    jack sender - Thanks. See my comment to Quackster. Unfortunately true.

    Person whose name I cannot decipher - Thanks for commenting here. I apologize that I do not know your name.

    Juliet - Unfortunately, we don't have public transport here, so driving is a necessity. I do live in the country, which is a wonderful thing.

    Sarah - Thank you. As always, your comments are more eloquent than my poetry!

    Poetikat - Catch-22 is a good description of it, Kat. I want to be a passenger, too!

  18. Beautiful piece. I've heard it said that seeing a dead blue bird is a foreshadowing of death.

  19. Willow - Thanks. Luckily, this little guy was able to fly quickly enough to chirp another day!

    Other person - I know what it means, but not how it applies. Oh, well. Glad to have ya here!

  20. Karen: have very belatedly noticed you'd like a copy of "The Fat Plant". E-mail me your address at TitusmckayATaolDOTcom and we'll sort something out!

  21. This poem contains the most powerful bluebird image I have ever read. No kidding. I've read a lot of bluebird poems. I can't remember a lot of them. This one will stay with me. It is so beautiful. Again, I am thrilled by your unique eye.