All text and images copyright Tim Myers 2008

Tim Myers:  Four poems

  To the Great Blue Heron

Heron, why

should I find myself remembering you

at odd times of the day?

Washing dishes I pause

and suddenly look

into your imperturbable eyes.

Starting the car, I see again

how lake winds lift

your gray-brown feathers.

The shape of your beak

is a fine thing, I remember it,

the tapering lines.

Standing in shallows

beneath the willow, you are

somehow the same mirror to me

that my birth is, my death is,

you who are so deliberate, so

quiet, your eyes always


  The Fire-Bombing of Tokyo

There's little doubt that human beings

are easily distracted

by all that's new, breathless as

some novelty's enacted:

to wit:  In March of '45,

incendiary bombs,

almost two thousand tons of them,

left Tokyo a tomb.

But this was nothing new--

just the same old stuff.

As far as making history,

not original enough.

As many died that day as later,

when the Big Ones fell,

Hiroshima, Nagasaki

newer forms of Hell.

We talk about the A-bomb now

but not old-fashioned flames

incinerating equal numbers,

leaving only names,

for even Terror has its styles,

and new forms win attention

while we consign to footnote those

we slaughtered by convention.

    Inelegant Confession

I thought myself a cultured man

with art and taste together,

until that ad there in the Times

for loafers of pale blue leather.

Regally posed, a full-page spread,

subtle and tastefully clever,

they were to me a reprimand,

those loafers of pale blue leather.

Ah, the slender Italian design,

the heels' slight cantilever,

the Apollonian buckles of gold

such artful stitching tethered!

It was a keen chastisement, bound

to pique my pride forever--

for something in those loafers' soul

from my soul is dissevered.

If heartless gods had granted me

great wealth, or named me Trevor,

perhaps I might be worthy of

loafers of pale blue leather.

But such sartorial heights are not

for me; I shan't endeavor

to overreach myself.  Alas!

No loafers of pale blue leather.

Somewhere there are men whose shoes

are light as putti's feathers,

bright as cerulean skies,

dainty as May weather--

but I'm a rube, an oaf, a boor,

and won't be classy ever--

I cannot wear these opalescent

loafers of pale blue leather.

A Discovery of Ancient Flutes in China

They dug them up and put them

in a glass museum-case,

six slender bones from the wings of cranes,

hollow shafts marked by augers

with small holes for the players' fingertips.

So old, nine thousand years in the lightless earth,

the elegant lengths of bone are scored and yellowed--

but still the perfectly spaced fingerholes

that open onto nothing,

and shattered yellow-brown fragments

of other flutes nearby.

One of the six could still be played.

To command the notes--

like water from a pool behind some prehistoric weir,

trickling obediently into crude furrows

we dug across a riverside field,

soaking our roots in their muddy lines--

so long ago we learned that trick too,

still use it--

to command the notes--

and seeing these flutes we remember

how the planet-wandering wind,

its mindless, shifting, sea-driving force,

was made particular and ordered here

under hands no different from our own--

pursed lips to the bone-flutes,

wind made small and good out of our own mouths,

new creature we call song,

something to help us go on living

in a hard world,

one more of the food-like mysteries

we eat from without understanding.

Like cranes against the sky,

notes still come from the ancient bone-piece--

we borrow them from death, from that leap to flight.