Sunday, 10 April 2016

Dinah Hawken: The Question of Gulls

Answers are everywhere. The question could be simple,
it could be lying like air in the wing of a gull.

It could be lying like air in the bone of the wing of a gull,
or like the air the wing is lifted and held by

while the gull is lifting and lowering and lifting
its wings. It could be a question of wonder, of taking off,

a question of desire, a venture  it might not be
the gull, or wing, or even the air, not even a feather, it might

be the winging and the sheer momentum of
winging        open eyed in open air       over an ocean

From the sequence Coastal Revelations (2002). Both sides of the poem's image open out beautifully at the end. I wonder if there's a hidden joke in the question that "could be lying like air": does this play on the two different meanings of lying? I doubt it, but...