Beautiful Bird

Robert Vivian

Beautiful bird and beautiful door knob, beautiful light-bulb and beautiful nail bent down

in the wall like an old man doubled-over in laughter or anguish, beautiful wallet and

beautiful seashore where I wander into a beautiful painting of the sea with beautiful

waves in the beautiful distance beckoning me, beautiful stone on beautiful nightstand

taken from beautiful river 70 miles away that calms my racing blood, beautiful wind-

chime on neighbor’s beautiful back porch sighing Sing song, sing song in fey notes

of forever, and beautiful barking of multiple dogs with lifted muzzles trembling for the

blues, beautiful window and beautiful contrails high in the beautiful sky rising ever

higher, always ascending, always dissembling, beautiful pilots and beautiful flight

attendants named Brenda and Roy, beautiful sunlight shining down on beautiful

backyard in Michigan and beautiful dust motes light and airy as beautiful stars drifting

weightless and free and this is beautiful also, beautiful rock and beautiful scissors in

beautiful playground two blocks away and the beautiful hands of beautiful children that

shape these beautiful gestures of somewhat primitive tools in quick movements of

surprising alacrity, beautiful ballpoint pen gnawed on by someone named Homo Erectus

who never learned how to shave and beautiful paperclip with hairpin curves that

prefigure a beautiful garden tended by former hell-bent berserkers who have forsaken

their violent ways and embraced the lilting delicacy of flowers, beautiful incipient age

spot on the back of my right hand as I write these words, beautiful candle and beautiful

flicker in beautiful bowl filled with beautiful rose water in beautiful fragrance

of hereafter and heaven hath no other bouquet like it, beautiful egg in beautiful

refrigerator sitting securely in its beautiful Styrofoam pocket snug as any astronaut or

snow-white breast, beautiful bar of soap curved like a beautiful dune whose beautiful

lather shall wash across my body in foamy exfoliation and the jettisoning of dead skin

cells along with those of any other bather who runs its slippery slope across their skin

and under their armpits, down their chests and between their legs with great industrial

relish, and then beautiful bird again calling me singing beauty, beauty, calling no one,

Hardy’s darkling thrush on a wire become a robin then a sparrow then a kindly old

woman manifest as mercy, and beautiful birds everywhere as they alone know the true

rushing power of air over their wings and dive in it the livelong day, and one beautiful

bird, la promesse de Bonheur, as Stendhal put it, “the promise of happiness,” to know this

deep inside oneself where another bird lives and still another and another, birds of

wonder, birds of great and noble poetical utterance and soul stirring elixirs, beautiful

birds of card tricks, playful birds of creative high-jinks and flurry of feathers falling like

careless lovers, you a bird and I a bird soaring and bird chirping and pecking at

sunflower seeds, red bird, yellow bird, blue bird headlong for horizon, Dodo bird long

extinct and clairvoyant bird seeing with splintered golden eye into the heart of a vast

mystery, and bird along the skipping goes, bird inside the hallways in a Catholic school

where two girls in uniform skipped down the scuffed linoleum floors years ago

singing Paul McCartney’s “Silly Little Love Song” when I was in second grade and I their gut-

shot admirer watching from a doorway with his heart in his mouth and something like a

sigh coming out of it but softer, so much softer its down of air, their long, tumbling hair

shot through with shafts of beautiful sunlight, sweet bird of beautiful memory lifting me

out of myself as the bird in me rises from my body and soars away into song becoming

beautiful smoke beautiful song again then beautiful echo, beautiful yearning and

beautiful cocktail, beautiful bird hollow-boned for flight and heaven in a song, a trill,

bird singing, scales laden-bright and free ascending releasing shower of arias within and

sing the beautiful song, sing it, beautiful bird and beautiful life raft in the beautiful

neighbor widow’s dream of drowning and beautiful car coming down beautiful street

belching beautiful black smoke choking this beautiful world, and beautiful bird still

singing, still praising, oh, you beautiful, beautiful bird, so beautiful all I can do is sing

you, beautiful bird, oh, beautiful bird responding with beautiful song, both of us with

throats sore and swollen with praise, singing, singing because we cannot help it.

Robert Vivian is the author of The Tall Grass Trilogy, Water And Abandon, and two books of meditative essays, The Least Cricket Of Evening and Cold Snap As Yearning.