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Split the Lark -- R T Smith

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?
-- R T Smith
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

4 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

tamilselvan muthu said...

I was at your minstrels site.read R. T. Smith's
poem.Would like to introduce to my students.
But bio data does not have date of birth? Looked into
the net. Strangely no. Do you know his DOB??
thanks

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