Let’s imagine for a second that the robin
is not a contained entity moving at speed
through space, but that it is a living change,
unmaking and remaking itself over and over
by sheer unconscious will, and that
if we were to slow down the film enough
we would see a flying ball of chaos,
flicking particles like Othello counters,
—from 'Robin In Flight' by Paul Adrian, winner of The National Poetry Competition, UK
This might be the best poem I've ever read to have won a recent competition. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the winner has never published before. The more I deal with the poetry establishment the more I'm convinced it has a way of curbing fresh voices. I hope this honor encourages Mr. Adrian to persevere with his style. For me it's not far from being up there with the great bird poems (OK maybe not 'The Windhover' but does anything even approach Hopkins's iconic piece), including D.H. Lawrence's 'Humming Bird.'
Before anything had a soul,
While life was a heave of Matter, half inanimate,
This little bit chipped off in brilliance
And went whizzing through the slow, vast, succulent stems.
I believe there were no flowers, then,
In the world where the humming-bird flashed ahead of creation.
I believe he pierced the slow vegetable veins with his long beak.
—from 'Humming Bird' by D.H. Lawrence
Back to the UK National Poetry Competition, one of the runners up is quite good fun.
The records show that in Shanghai
at the end of the Yuan Dynasty,
the year 1364, a glassblower blew
a mermaid that came to life, and swam
away. And in Cologne, in 1531, a team
of glassblowers blew an orchestra,
instruments and all, and these played.
Then on Hokkaido, in 1846, a blind
monk blew his own Buddha to pray to,
and the next day he was able to see.
—from 'A History of Glassblowing' by Matthew Sweeney
Here's a neat project using Blake's illustrations and music to set The Songs of Innocence and Experience nicely into video.
It includes treatment of "The Blossom."
Pretty pretty robin!
Under leaves so green
A happy blossom
Hears you sobbing sobbing
Pretty pretty robin
Near my bosom.
—from 'The Blossom' by William Blake, published in Songs of Innocence in 1789