Another Oldie: Uccello

Originally published in 1987 in a short-lived publication called The Balcones Review, this is the opening of a longer work. Today, as I look out my window at that same tree, I hear the birds, no longer silent.



the wind is what
the stillness
desires to say
each instant
collapsing into itself
like a bud
to the seed

the birds in my tree
are silent
as echoes
before their brief
lives are

something thrashes
in the leaves
the feather
is not only what
it is

as the candle
is more
than flame
or a moment

to darkness

the question
is of clarity

I built a frame
but placed
nothing in it

the wind
blows through
quietly as if
between silences
there exists
only silence or

the familiar embrace



The formatting isn’t right. Not wanting to waste more time on learning code (hey, I barely have enough time to write), I’ve decided to instead provide a pdf of how the poem should look. It might be interesting to compare the two.

Uccello pdf

54 thoughts on “Another Oldie: Uccello

  1. I practice Buddhist meditation which stresses facing what is, and staying in the present moment without fabricating a story. I have used the analogy of facing into the wind to help myself relate to the practice. I was fascinated by your opening: “the wind is what the stillness desires to say each instant collapsing into itself”.

    I am also a little frustrated with the built-in formatting of WordPress, and have not wanted to take the time to learn more html. I liked the appearance of the piece on the pdf file. My husband, also a writer and poet, is very sensitive to the structure and appearance of the words on the page.

    Thank you for checking out my blog.


  2. That was a very enjoyable read. I love this: “as echoes before their brief lives are silent”… I dig the fact that I had to do a double take there, and had a delightful moment of meaning discovery! Maybe this is a sad acknowledgment of my ignorance or slow processing… LOL, just felt like sharing! Nice piece.


  3. The pdf layout works perfectly – really lifts it. Great stuff. I know on my site the poetry layout is rubbish, and everytime I put something up, I swear, Never again. I think you’ve cracked it with this!


  4. Hey! I love your writing, it’s so beautiful. I just wanted to let you know that you’ve given me my first like and I’m more than appreciative of that. I hope you stick around a check out a few more things of mine, I’m new to the WordPress community. Thanks again for liking and I look forward to getting a chance to read more of your work! Have a great day 🙂


  5. Pingback: #Birds #Trees #Poetry #Design | johndwmacdonald

  6. Regarding formatting: a poet friend helped me figure it out.You do need to know the size and name of your font. Maybe you can try it before you post it. On your dashboard you can do this. Before my poems with unusual formatting I write

    At the end I write

    You can check my first poem, Word Tag (also shown in about on Sheryl’s Sporadic Word Tag) to see why that poem needed formatting.


    • Sorry. For some reason what I used did not show up there. It disappeared and there was a change in formatting which resulted from what I wrote. If you are interested send me a message on FaceBook or maybe we can find another way to communicate. Sigh.


  7. I thought this was beautiful…leaves you feeling peaceful. I will definitely read again, its one of those poems where you want to savor the words and the pictures forming in your mind as you read…Thank you for stopping by my blog 🙂


  8. The formatting makes a lot of difference to the appreciation of the poem. More than I had expected. I can understand as I had problem with formatting as well but last night my son just helped me solve one of my formatting problem by googling it and give me that look – why don’t try the obvious! ha ha. I could kill him! Everyone should read the pdf version, the wordpress version does not do the poem justice.
    Love the poem especially about framing silence in-between silences. I’ve to stop and imagine how can I hear silence between silence and then realized though I may feel the different in intensity of the wind, I may not perceive any difference in silence. It may not be what you intended but still grateful that you gave me this insight.


  9. I found it very fluid. I love the words, the movement and I had no problem understanding how it was formatted. Maybe since I write poetry my mind is already searching for the way it is meant to go. I believe poetry is beautiful in that even if the meaning understood stands apart from that of the author, it is no less perfect. Words…


  10. Well, lovely stuff. Initially drawn by the title. Uccello was an early Renaissance artist, one of the first to play with perspectives and 3D effects. Perhaps a coincidence, but his paintings , though full of images of movement, seem to be completely still and silent……..


    • I was unaware of the artist (except by name) until a friend, some 28 years ago, after I asked whether the title should be changed, pointed out Uccello’s work with perspective. It was indeed a coincidence, but one I cherish.


  11. the movement of this poem is enchanting- it feels like I’m being slowly rocked back and forth. thank you for this!


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