29 April 2009

National Poetry Month

Harry Thurston was born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and has lived most of his life in his native province. For the last 25 years he has travelled widely as a full-time freelance writer for many of North America's leading magazines, including Audubon, Canadian Geographic, Harrowsmith, and National Geographic. He has served as a contributing editor of Equinox since its inception in 1981. His work has garnered several national journalism awards. Thurston currently lives in Tidnish Bridge, Nova Scotia, with his wife and daughter. Among his most recent publications are Broken Vessel: Thirty-five Days in the Desert (GP, 2007), A Ship Portrait (GP, 2005) and If Men Lived On Earth (GP, 2000).

Today's poem, 'Chimney Swifts' appeared in Gaspereau Gloriatur: Volume 1 (GP, 2007) an anthology celebrating the first ten years of Gaspereau Press poetry.

from Gaspereau Gloriatur: Volume 1
Harry Thurston

Chimney Swifts

     for Catherine

Fly ash, swifts swirl counter-
clockwise around the chimney

like smoke returning
to the fire. Time’s arrow

is reversed. As we watch their flight
spiral into darkness,

we are growing younger,
back toward our births,

borne to our mother’s womb
on charcoal wings.

First one bravely dips
into the inky stack,

then the others
obediently funnel down

to the mystery of our origins.
A place still, dark, expectant.

Dusk, the show is over,
we file obediently toward our appointment

with sleep, resume our steady movement
no longer suspended by waking wonder.

In the morning, the flock
unwinds like clock springs,

flies up as if the night foreman
had returned, kindled old fires.

The swifts, winged carbon, spiral up,
clockwise at the dawn light,

setting the day in motion,
unfurling the future.

Copyright © Harry Thurston, 2007

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