Guest poem submitted by Uma Raman:
(Poem #585) Split the Lark
'Split the lark, and you'll find the Music - Bulb after Bulb, in Silver rolled - ' (Emily Dickinson) Rend the song to splinters the way it tears the air. Trace it over meadows, briars, spruce, the bristle of crouching hares until the source is clear - a breast of softest yellow. Then lure it to a snare, shear away the feathers, delicate speckling, the finest silk of skin. Plunder with your fingers the colours cloaked within windpipe, jellies, heart of the fallen meadowlark - iris, ginger, viridian. Savage as a raven's beak, will you find the bliss that engined into song - What you thought the art beyond counterfeit is gone. Was it refined disguise or a tithe of grace made this bird a wonder, perching amid oak leaves, flourishing its skein of honesty and laughter - In scarlet experiment your instrument is riven, your palms a criminal-red soiling morning grass. Now, my skeptic, do you still doubt your bird was true?
From 'S-p-l-i-t---t-h-e---L-a-r-k----Selected-Poems-by-R.T.-SMITH'. The poems of 'Split the Lark' record one man's mission to find the mythic in the social, the crucial in the casual, the supernatural in the natural. R. T. Smith's precise images and quietly modulated music cast a wide net, engaging Native American customs and history, the forested mysteries of the American South, the habits of birds and one traveler's ruminations on the people, conflicts and stories of Ireland. This gathering of poems scanning two decades displays, as Eamon Grennan said of Smith's collection Trespasser, "a language at once taut and sensuous, speedy but carefully controlled". R. T. Smith was born in Washington, D.C., and has lived in Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama and Virginia. He has taught at Appalachian State University, Auburn University, where he served as Alumni Writer-in-Residence and co-editor of Southern Humanities Review, and Washington and Lee University. His collections The Cardinal Heart and Trespasser were nominees for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, and he has received grants in literature from the National Endowment for the Arts and Arts International. In 1998 he was Artist-in-Residence at the National Historical Park at Harpers Ferry, WV. He has been a resident at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, the Wurlitzer Foundation and the Millay Colony and has spent extensive time in Ireland, notably Galway. Mr Smith, whose collection of stories is entitled Faith, currently resides in Rockbridge County, Virginia, where he edits Shenandoah and is currently working on an anthology to be entitled Shine in Darkness, 100 Poems of the Moon. Uma Raman. PS. Emily Dickinson's original 'Split the Lark' is archived at poem #580