Tag Archives: heightened awareness

Ian Hamilton’s “The Birds”

She saw it from a distance seem to burn
Along the branches of her orchard trees,
Then disappear. All afternoon
She had kept watch. The smaller birds,
Assembled on the bitten lawn
In perfect rows, had waited with her.
Soon, she consoled them, soon.

Their claws stretch and unstretch, deep in the ground.
Between the broken trees, there are avenues
That flutter as she talks and seem to run
To the horizon without moving.

She stalls above all this and seems to see
Black on the whitest hill, the furthest tree.

This is another sample from the work of the brilliant late 20th century poet, Ian Hamilton, a poet for whom my admiration and awe continues to grow the more I read him.

This time, a more enigmatic poem. The tone is vintage Hamilton but the focus, while softer, has the same deep emotional impact mined from the same dark brevity. It is easy to get lost in the ‘she’ of the poem. Who is she? Why is she there? What is she doing? And then, with a gasp, what is she?

Click here for a list of the other Ian Hamilton poems on the Book of Pain.

For more on Ian Hamilton, I refer you to: his Wikipedia page.

Thank you for reading Ian Hamilton’s “The Birds”. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.


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