Yellow Bird

In the Thoughts and Inspirations section there is a posting called Chased by a Poem which talks about the creative muse.  For an artists, one of the most rewarding experiences occurs when creative forces just flow through… when a poem or painting or idea just comes and we are there to simply jot it down or express it…

One of the most powerful moments where this happened to me was in Boston.  I was taking a poetry class and at the end of the class someone was talking about a loved one that had passed away.  Just then I saw a bird land outside the window.  On the way home the stormy sky was split in two with one half a creamsicle orange and the other,  a dark slate gray.   And then the rain started…  A poem was brewing.   I ran in the door, dropped everything, pulled out my journal and started scribbling down this poem about my grandfather.   The sun was setting so by the time I finished I was writing in the dark.  But this poem remains one of my favorites because of how it was created:

Yellow Bird by Nathalie Vachon

The angry sky is split in two and I tip toe through the raindrops
As you taught me
Annual summer visits
Bringing a suitcase full of warm bagels
You would ask for company
On that winding path to purchase your daily paper
And, well, I came along for the candy
On this muggy July, the sky split in two
You taught me how to tip toe through the raindrops
Your belly stretched tight, a firm full Buddha
Not even the biggest buckle could keep that full moon covered
And you kept hoisting up those pants
An orchestra of dimes in your pockets activated when you danced
And tip toed through the raindrops singing:
Yellow bird, high in the banana tree
Yellow bird, you sit all alone like me

Now I’m alone and the angry sky outside is split in two
And I think of you
By my side, as we slide, back and forth
Metal rocking on concrete, back and forth
As the July night sky clings to our bodies
“There’s no use tip toeing our way through these drops” you’d say
So we’d stay
Rocking our worries into the ground
Gazing at sheets of rain
Eyes glued to the blackness, hearts pounding
Waiting for that blinding vein to signal the counting
One alligator, two alligator
Thunder pounds and shakes the sky and jolts me from my rocking rhythm
And we know the storm is moving closer
The next one’s sure to split that angry sky in two
“Sure to be a biggie!” you’d say
So we’d stay…

But I know you also had an angry streak that could split that sky in two
I saw you forcing and plowing your way through those raindrops
And as summers passed those suitcases filled with warm bagels
Were also filled with knives that cut

It’s been five years since the doctors said “be rid of that full moon,
A simple in and out procedure if you lose that Buddha belly”
But with those meager meals did you also lose your spirit?

Five years and I’ve been only once to your grave
But today, I sit alone as the angry sky is split in two
And I think of you, yellow bird
Up high in that banana tree
And I wonder, yellow bird
Do you sit all alone like me?

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