The roaring alongside he takes for granted,
and that every so often the world is bound to shake.
He runs, he runs to the south, finical, awkward,
in a state of controlled panic, a student of Blake.
The beach hisses like fat. On his left, a sheet
of interrupting water comes and goes
and glazes over his dark and brittle feet.
He runs, he runs straight through it, watching his toes.
Watching, rather, the spaces of sand between them,
where (no detail too small) the Atlantic drains
rapidly backwards and downwards. As he runs,
he stares at the dragging grains.
The world is a mist. And then the world is
minute and vast and clear. The tide
is higher or lower. He couldn’t tell you which.
His beak is focussed; he is preoccupied,
Looking for something, something, something.
Poor bird, he is obsessed!
The millions of grains are black, white, tan, and gray,
mixed with quartz grains, rose and amethyst…Elizabeth Bishop
I have a little bird ornament…a metallic sandpiper…he sits on a stone shelf in my garden, and though the years of sun and rain have rusted his feathers, he stands like the steadfast tin soldier, always “looking for something, something, something, obsessed, preoccupied”..
Like his live partners on the beach here in my city, he is intent on “the millions of grain between his feet”, oblivious to the sound of the waves nearby, to the tides rushing in and out…
There is a lesson to be learned from this little creature…as winter becomes sprig, should we be looking for the world in a grain of sand or should we be preoccupied with the larger questions that have no answers?..
Less you think I have abandoned winter, I haven’t yet…my piper never feels the cold…I have created an abstract, a melding of where he sits and what he dreams about in Watercolour on Arches Not Paper..