Poem introduction

This is a poem about Christopher Columbus and his first voyage.

The Pull of Birds

THE PULL OF BIRDS

 Colón, son and grand-son of weavers
rejected that calling but did not
neglect craft (keeping two sets of books).
On his first voyage, landfall receding
(where was Japan?) he sailed on

 praying for a miracle to centre him
in that unmarked immensity, as warp to woof.
And suddenly from the north a density
of birds flying south, their autumn migration
intersecting his westward passage.

 At such an auspicious conjunction, his charts
he threw out, the flocks drew him south
across the blue fabric of the Atlantic.
Weary mariners buoyed by the miracle
of land soon, of birds flying across the moon.

Birds seeking to outdistance three raptors skimming
the surface of the sea and sending skyward
their doomsday utterance of hawks’ bells
tinkling endlessly. Birds speeding
to make landfall at Guanahaní.


from Over the Roofs of the World (Insomniac Press, 2005), copyright© Olive Senior 2005, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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Recordings

Olive Senior

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1Moon

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2Rejected Text for a Tourist Brochure

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3Leaving Home

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4Embroidery

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5Lacemaker

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6The Birth of Islands

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7The Secret of Flying Close to the Sun Without Melting Wings

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8Peacock Tale 2

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9Rooster

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10Hen

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11Guinea Hen

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12The Pull of Birds

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13Meditation on Red

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14Hurricane Story 1904

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15Hurricane Story 1988

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16Starapple

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17Pineapple

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18Guava

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19Guinep

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20Bamboo 4

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21Brief Lives

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22My Father's Blue Plantation

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23Meditation on Yellow

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24Gastropoda

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25Shelter

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26Garden Snail

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27Hurricanes

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28Join the Dots

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29Shell

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30A Superficial Reading

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31Colonial Girls School

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32Birdshooting Season

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33Hurricane Watch

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34Dead Straight

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