A question on my friends page led me to recall a web site I once intended to mention, then forgot about in my usual absent-minded way. Leo's Lyrics is one of dozens of web sites which have sprung up featuring song lyrics. But this one has an interesting search feature: you can search the full text of its entire 70,000 song database for individual words and specific phrases anywhere in those lyrics. So, if all you can remember of a song is a single phrase, you can hunt down the title here. It's a handy virtual gadget to have around, but beware the plethora of pop-ups.
Because my brain is still in dysfunctional mode, I've been stuffing it with poetry, in the hope that this might jog something loose and get it working again. Mostly, I've been reading Richard Wilbur, as I've never gotten around to finishing his New and Collected poems, published in 1989. Yes, I'm slow sometimes. But I recently noticed for the first time how often birds appear in his work. They are among his obsessive images, I suppose. The poem I posted on Sunday had birds in it. Tonight, I came across another which I found interesting. Its pointed humor ( a common trait of Wilbur's verse) makes me smile.
In a Bird Sanctuary
by Richard Wilbur
Because they could not give it too much ground
they closely planted it with fir and shrub.
A plan of pathways, voted by the Club,
contrived to lead the respiter around
a mildly wandring wood, still at no cost
to get him lost.
Now over near Miss Drury's favored trees
they flutter (birds) and either stop or not,
as if they were unconscious that the spot
is planned for them, and meant to buy release
for one restrained department of the soul,
to "make men whole."
It's hard to tell the purpose of a bird;
for relevance it does not seem to try.
No line can trace no flute exemplify
its traveling; it darts without the word.
Who wills devoutly to absorb, contain,
birds give him pain.
Commissioners of Public Parks have won
a partial wisdom, know that birds exist.
And seeing people equally insist
on birds and statues, they go hire a man
to swab sans rancor dung from granite stare
and marble hair.
BIRDS HAVE BEEN SEEN IN TOWERS AND ON ISLES;
ALSO ON PRIVY TOPS, IN FANEUIL HALL;
BIRDS HAVE SOME OF THEM NOT BEEN SEEN AT ALL;
BIRDS, IF THEY CARE TO, WALK ALONG IN FILE.
BIRDS DO NOT FEEL ESPECIALLY GOOD IN FLIGHT;
LET'S TREAT THEM RIGHT!
The liberty of any things becomes
the liberty of all. It also brings
their abolition into anythings.
In order's name let's not turn down our thumbs
on routine visions; we must figure out
what all's about.