“On Reading a Poem by Phillis Levin” by Marilyn Robertson

Marilyn Robertson


I laughed out loud this morning.
I was reading a poem called The Buzzard
and it took me through ice storms,
evacuation routes, terrible winds—
an ominous landscape.
But where is the buzzard, I wondered,
and how is he going to navigate
toward breakfast in this gale?
I got to the end where a neighbor’s shovel
scraping the walk made you reconsider
the meaning of your life,
and still no bird had shown up.
Not even a canary.
Did I miss something?
I turned back the page to read it again
and saw it was called The Blizzard.
How interesting life can be
when you mistake one thing for another.

from Rattle #23, Summer 2005


Marilyn Robertson: “I wrote songs for twenty years. Then they turned into poems. Poems are easier, no guitar to tune. Poems are harder, requiring line breaks, commas, forms … but, oh, how satisfying. Those early morning hours on the couch—heaven!”

Rattle Logo