Monday, February 29, 2016

Poem of the Day: “Birds on a Wire” by John C. Mannone, Frequent Contributor and Poet of the Week

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Birds on a Wire” by John C. Mannone, a Songs of Eretz Frequent Contributor and this week’s Poet of the Week.  The poet’s biography may be found in the “About Our Editor & Frequent Contributors” section.

Birds on a Wire
John C. Mannone

A musician-pianist
            with writer’s block
                        gazes outside
as sparrows line up
            on power lines,
                        their silhouettes
perch as musical notes
            on a three-wire bar
                        hung from cross-staffs.

He scribbles their
            arrangement on paper:
                        ink nesting in circles
before his hands
            swoop down,
                        fingers resting light
as feathers on ivory,
            ruffling out
                        the bird-inspired tune:

itself a songbird
            lifting to the heavens—
                        a psalm of praise and thanks,
           
            taking wing.  

Poet’s Notes:  “Birds on a Wire” is a product of a prompt involving a list of ten words and categories obtained from a monthly open mic I attend in Chattanooga: a musical term, a part of a bird, rake, balloon, shuttle, ridge, rile, mash, repulse, scribble. (Only three of these survived the final revision.)

The conflation of the first two items is what led to the poem because they triggered a memory of TV commercial I had seen years earlier—a pianist suffering from “writer’s block” gazed out his studio window and saw birds “scale” the three-phase power lines. Their arrangement gave him the opening chords for a piano rift. Eventually, the poem’s structure emulates a 3-bar structure.   

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