Poetry Focus: Poem by Robert Pinsky

Pinsky as a young poet

Eyewear is very fortunate, this Tuesday in cold London, to be able to feature a poem from Robert Pinsky.  This is from his Selected PoemsRobert Pinsky, a former Poet Laureate of America, is one of the greatest of living poets in the English language.


Air an instrument of the tongue,
The tongue an instrument
Of the body, the body
An instrument of spirit,
The spirit a being of the air.

A bird the medium of its song.
A song a world, a containment
Like a hotel room, ready
For us guests who inherit
Our compartment of time there.

In the Cornell box, among
Ephemera as its element,
The preserved bird— a study
In spontaneous elegy, the parrot
Art, mortal in its cornered sphere.

The room a stanza rung
In a laddered filament
Clambered by all the unsteady
Chambered voices that share it,
Each reciting I too was here—

In a room, a rhyme, a song.
In the box, in books: each element
An instrument, the body
Still straining to parrot
The spirit, a being of air.

poem reprinted online with permission of Robert Pinsky; from Selected Poems; copyright 2013.