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Catching Fire; or, The Art of Sitting

Mark Tredinnick

Poetry by Mark Tredinnick

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.



©Mark Tredinnick

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