Wednesday, January 03, 2007

the firebird

Congratulations to the friend I have always thought of as another sister, who accepted her marriage proposal the day after my marriage.

I am so happy for you. Let sunrise come.

The Firebird
Ballet Russes: Tamara Karsavina, June 1910

By Shara Lessley

first published in The Nation May 22, 2006

thrust frontward,
her point-work's one-three-two one-two proves
(pride, fear, pleading, might) more
to flight than either feather or

about this bird is built for likeness--
beveled tail arched back, she
razes the air about her. Even

huntsman burns:
plucking her coxcomb, the fire-dazzled
image singed in his noble
glove. Of bodice, plumage, costume,

only her
ruin seems human--yes, hers is that
old tale in a nutshell:
the egg contains the soul. Threatened,

honeycombed bones wrench back to divert
the magician king. Love's
ultimate sacrifice! Art,

theless, knows
too the meaning of stillness: so gives
the bird her final pose
as her prince (with his mistress) departs--

who, when pressed
to detect on that darkened stage even
the slightest quiver, could
fail to recognize the remark-

able quickness of her caged-in heart?