Luke Fischer / Poetry


 Samothraki, Greece
   for Jakob Ziguras
I’m not sure if I’m following a trail
left by goats or on the human path
as I attempt to circumvent the farmstead
where, the last time I came near, a dog
pursued me, snapping and snarling. Noticing
the piles of rusting junk dispersed around
the place I wonder whether there’s a law
requiring that at least one crackpot live
in each secluded region on the planet;
as if these thoughts had given them their cue
two dogs begin to howl. This circumstance—
embracing pungent wafts of goat shit—stirs
somehow recurrent doubts about the art
of poetry, its prospects in our time
and apprehensions personal in nature...
Traversing the hip of the mountain, still unsure if I’m on the path
but no longer caring
        I bend under the low branch of a sycamore
		          enter a clearing of green and rusty ferns
        when a call like a foghorn sounds directly above
		         Arp, uup
        Lifting my head I see two black birds with wings outstretched
	    arcing more smoothly than figure skaters
	          away from then towards each other
	     Their fingers almost touch as they pass
				       and arc out again
	      I follow the fluent sequences
	           in the impromptu choreography
	      the transformation of lemniscates
		    they draw on bright blue paper
	      leaving an even lighter trace
		        than the fine inscription
		  of blades in ice
              At regular intervals, arp, arp
		  the same bird gently repeats
              as if to say, take notice, this is important
	    though I doubt the utterance is aimed at me...
While wishing I could have observed them longer
and had taken fewer notes
		    they return, now from the west
  No, this pair is fairer
      and converses in meow-like squeals
though they arc as smoothly as the black birds
		    Joined by a third
       they easily wind their way
		     high over the valley
			  whistling in alternation
And I wonder, after all, if it’s not possible
        to speak winged words
	      to converse, if only with a few
			  that far above the valley
After following another goat trail
	    I scramble over rocks to glimpse a waterfall
          and losing the way back
	       descend the hillside with the path in sight
		     and I’m not making this up
			   or sure what it means
but the first pair of birds return from behind the mountain
      dart over my head and down into the valley
	    They’re talking to each other now and take turns
		to flip upside down, flash their breasts to the sky
		and far swifter than stunt planes
		flip over again...

Luke Fischer

'Augury?' won the Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize and was first
published in Overland.The poem also appears on pp.74-77 in the author's
collection Paths of Flight (Black Pepper,2013).

Paths of Flight can be purchased directly through the Black Pepper website
(postage is free):
Paths of Flight

The image

2 thoughts on “Augury?

  1. Ya Zeina Alef mabrook for this lovely blog you set up.
    How appropriate food and poems you are talented in both of them.
    looking forward to see the jewes tumbling down from your nimble fingers,I caught few already.
    Love Danielle

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