Archive for June 16th, 2021

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Vogelfanger by Donald Alexander Finkel

Play with birds and one day the birds
begin to play with you.
First sparrows, little,
with a darting life of their own:
they arrange themselves,
there, among crumbs, or on wires,
a fine distribution!

Then one rises, and another,
past your face,
a flutter of beads and feathers.
Suddenly the astonished sky is full
of nails, knocked like stars
in the roof, to keep
the whole blue nothing up.

Who’ll buy my sparrows?
Who’ll listen to their quarrels
and comprehend?
They hop and down in their cages
like guilty secrets.

Lightly the air
presses down on our shoulders
its great blue thumbs,
lightly, as if afraid to hurt us.
What will you do when the sky falls,
brother? See?
the sparrows hold it up:
pray to them.

From: Finkel, Donald, ‘Vogelfanger’ in Poetry, Volume 105, Issue 6, March 1965, p. 360.

Date: 1965

By: Donald Alexander Finkel (1929-2008)