As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame
—Gerard Manley Hopkins
Mid afternoon I look up from my desk to see
A kingfisher alight in the water poplar.
For ten blue minutes she sits wrapped in
Her sacerdotal self, murder on her mind,
And I watch her steal her own silent show, doing
Nothing, immaculately, among the silver leaves.
Until, as if my eyes had pinned her, the instant
They drop, she flies: the stillest bird
In Christendom reaches escape velocity faster
Than I can find a pen. And I’d like to learn
To sit so still and to disappear so well, my body
Become a famished thought, my mind become a world.