I’ve spent the last hour sifting through an anthology of women poets. After touching on Adrienne Rich and Bella Akhmadulina, I landed on the arresting “Bird,” by a Hungarian poet named Agnes Nemes Nagy.


There’s a bird perched on my shoulder,
twin-bird, bird born with me.
It’s grown so large, grown so heavy
each step I take is torture.

Dead weight, dead weight, dead weight on me.
I’d shove it off – it’s tenacious,
it claws into my shoulder
like the roots of an oak tree.

An inch from my ear: the sound
of its horrible bird-heart throbbing.
If it flew off one day
I’d drop down to the ground.

Not to go all classroom on you, but… feel free to comment on what happens after she drops.

4 thoughts on ““Bird”

  1. Sandra says:

    She cries because she is happy, sad, and afraid all at the same time. Then she picks herself up and learns how to walk with a lighter load. For the first time she is able to recognize her own weight, her own worth.


  2. tealara says:

    Lying still on packed earth.
    Then, my own still-steady heartbeat,
    rhythmic breath; shards of light.

    That bird, my phantom twin,
    a shadow returning, returning.
    Screeching dissent
    as I reclaim power and strength.

    At last,
    with roots solidly gripping earth
    I launch skyward,
    myself alone.



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s