Gannets

I should be writing about flight
and instead, I’m writing about plunging –
what does that say? About me, I mean?
But the sky is blue and the clouds are white
and the sun is slanting in a certain way
and I’m thinking about gannets –
which certainly fly, circling, circling,
but then become daggers,
no, spears, clean and sharp,
those wings tucked in – jet
becomes missile. Mad blue eyes.

I’m writing about the frenzy
of gannets, the whirl and flurry
above the water, on a blue day,
when the sea is green and the waves
are white, dancing crests,
and there are fish out there,
and the gannets come in,
circling, circling, plunging.
You can hear them from here,
like a war between air
and water, crack, crack,
each bird a bullet, a clean strike.

Laura is hosting at dVerse,and asks us to write about flight – birds, bats, seeds…I resolved not to write about rooks (again) but it was a struggle.

And here are some real gannets: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Cp1n_vPvYY

November with Yeats, Day 26

‘I would that we were, my beloved, white birds on the foam of the sea!’ W.B. Yeats

 

From here the sea is a pewter plate
running between the headlands.
The gorse is bittersweet yellow,
and the shore rocks are grey.
We can see the gannets gather,
a chaos of white, whirling wings,
and hear the clear crack sound
as they hit the water.

There are mackerel there.

The gannets are wild in their greed,
plunging again and again –
each bird a blade. If we
were fishermen we’d follow them,
sharing the plunder.

But we are just spectators, feet planted
on the land. We are distanced,
watching the rising, falling,

sharing this scene.

There is no gentleness in these
white birds, just a mad
hunger, death streamlined,
folded into those narrow wings,
refracted in the shift
between the elements.

No gentleness, but beauty
is sometimes fierce, and strange,
and love is painful sometimes.

 

November with Yeats – day 26. Thank you, Jane, for curating these wonderful prompts. Nearly there!