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The Word

Poetry and Painting

The Blue Bird

 Belonging                       Melanie Figg

If there is a map to get here, it’s buried

under layers of paint and skitter, a bouquet

of wary and doubt. A girlhood of scars married

to skin. All my life I’ve been bracing for someday:

gear up, set out, gaze locked on the horizon, lost

in the rush of promise above the trees. A silver ring

holds worlds of warm turquoise, woozy and star-crossed.

I’ve been watching the signs. I’ve tried everything

else. There’s a dumb moment when you spot birds

of prey and it’s some kind of magical sign. I rehearse

the story of our romance through internet passwords—

an indigo oasis  in the metal grin of commerce.

A talisman to cleave to, a forecast to ignore.

Fires are messaging from the opposite shore.

The Secret of Bells           Melanie Figg


In motion always, eternity is indistinguishable from creation, and there the link between ecstasy and ethics shines—

O that boy—unmoored & called to make bells unthinking & readying

breaking open the earth (—to end so much anxious waiting / to extend his reach)

collapsing into that cool silver, murmuring—

                I am here

exhausted in relief & surprised

how lonely that cry is—that slow unraveling, that dying into newness & leaving the husk to bear the worthiness of arrival—to reflect what in front of you is sacred & the birds, hectic & caught up rushing—spinning across air & into our vision of sky

NOTE: in homage to Andrei Tarkovski / epigraph from Donald Revell]

胡蝶之夢     荘子





The Dream of a Butterfly        Zhuangzi

Once upon a time, I, Zhuangzi, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly.

I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Zhuangzi. Soon I awakened, and there I was, veritably myself again.

Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.

Between a man and a butterfly there is necessarily a distinction. The transition is called the transformation of material things. 

(As translated by Lin Yutang)

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