For days now a red-breasted bird
has been trying to break in.
She tests a low branch, violet blossoms
swaying beside her, leaps into the air and flies
straight at my window, beak and breast
held back, claws raking the pane.
Maybe she longs for the tree she sees
reflected in the glass, but I’m…
To Continue: 146040 Bird by Dorianne Laux — American Life in Poetry
An interesting poem by Dorianne Laux which I, at first, found uninteresting. But the more time one spends with it the richer its reading becomes. The near impossibility of the narrator to understand what goes on in the mind of a bird is something we understand; but there is a passivity to it; a passivity that is carried over into the apparent relationships the narrator has with the people in her life: children without names, a partner? referred to as only ‘the man’. And in the unaddressed clutter of the room the bird is apparently trying to enter, we sense further the narrator’s passivity, her inability to step through the door the bird is trying so desperately to break through, step through to a world of risk where her children and ‘the man’ function.
That said, the last line is absolutely earned. For the narrator seems to be projecting her own sense of failure, whether risked or not, onto the bird. And how can one who lives passively possibly understand the mind of any being that risks again and again. Lee