SPLIT THE LARK - R. T. Smith Poems


Poems » r. t. smith » split the lark

'Split the lark, and you'll find the Music -
Bulb after Bulb, in Silver rolled - ' (Emily Dickinson)

Rend the song to splinters
the way it tears the air.
Trace it over meadows,
briars, spruce, the bristle

of crouching hares
until the source is clear -
a breast of softest yellow.
Then lure it to a snare,

shear away the feathers,
delicate speckling,
the finest silk of skin.
Plunder with your fingers

the colours cloaked within
windpipe, jellies, heart
of the fallen meadowlark -
iris, ginger, viridian.

Savage as a raven's beak,
will you find the bliss
that engined into song -
What you thought the art

beyond counterfeit is gone.
Was it refined disguise
or a tithe of grace
made this bird a wonder,

perching amid oak leaves,
flourishing its skein
of honesty and laughter -
In scarlet experiment
your instrument is riven,
your palms a criminal-red
soiling morning grass.
Now, my skeptic, do you
still doubt your bird was true?