Brancusi's Golden Bird

- 1882-1966

       The toy
       become the aesthetic archetype

As if
       some patient peasant God
       had rubbed and rubbed
       the Alpha and Omega
       of Form
       into a lump of metal

       A naked orientation
       unwinged    unplumed
           —the ultimate rhythm
       has lopped the extremities
       of crest and claw
       from
       the nucleus of flight

       The absolute act
       of art
       conformed
       to continent sculpture
       —bare as the brow of Osiris—
       this breast of revelation

       an incandescent curve
       licked by chromatic flames
       in labyrinths of reflections

       This gong
       of polished hyperaesthesia
       shrills with brass
       as the aggressive light
       strikes
       its significance

       The immaculate
       conception
       of the inaudible bird
       occurs
       in gorgeous reticence… 

More by Mina Loy

Lunar Baedeker

A silver Lucifer
serves
cocaine in cornucopia

To some somnambulists
of adolescent thighs
draped
in satirical draperies

Peris in livery
prepare
Lethe
for posthumous parvenues

Delirious Avenues
lit
with the chandelier souls
of infusoria
from Pharoah's tombstones

lead
to mercurial doomsdays
Odious oasis
in furrowed phosphorous---

the eye-white sky-light
white-light district
of lunar lusts

---Stellectric signs
"Wing shows on Starway"
"Zodiac carrousel"

Cyclones
of ecstatic dust
and ashes whirl
crusaders
from hallucinatory citadels
of shattered glass
into evacuate craters

A flock of dreams 
browse on Necropolis

From the shores
of oval oceans
in the oxidized Orient

Onyx-eyed Odalisques
and ornithologists
observe
the flight
of Eros obsolete

And "Immortality"
mildews...
in the museums of the moon

"Nocturnal cyclops"
"Crystal concubine"
-------
Pocked with personification
the fossil virgin of the skies
waxes and wanes----

Moreover, the Moon ---

Face of the skies
preside
over our wonder.

Fluorescent
truant of heaven
draw us under.

Silver, circular corpse
your decease
infects us with unendurable ease,

touching nerve-terminals
to thermal icicles

Coercive as coma, frail as bloom
innuendoes of your inverse dawn
suffuse the self;
our every corpuscle become an elf.

The Black Virginity

Baby Priests	
On green sward	
Yew-closed	
Silk beaver	
Rhythm of redemption	        
Fluttering of Breviaries	
 
Fluted black silk cloaks	
Hung square from shoulders	
Troncated juvenility	
Uniform segration	        
Union in severity	
Modulation	
Intimidation	
Pride of misapprehended preparation	
Ebony statues training for immobility	        
Anæmic jawed	
Wise saw to one another	
 
Prettily the little ones	
Gesticulate benignly upon one another in the sun buzz—	
Finger and thumb circles postulate pulpits	        
Profiles forsworn to Donatello	
Munching tall talk vestral shop	
Evangelical snobs	
Uneasy dreaming	
In hermetically-sealed dormitories	        
Not of me or you Sister Saraminta	
Of no more or less	
Than the fit of Pope's mitres	
 
It is an old religion that put us in our places	
Here am I in lilac print	        
Preposterously no less than the world flesh and devil	
Having no more idea what those are	
What I am	
Than Baby Priests of what "He" is	
or they are—	        
Messianic mites tripping measured latin ring-a-roses	
Subjugated adolescence	
Retraces loose steps to furling of Breviaries	
In broiling shadows	
The last with apostolic lurch	        
Tries for a high hung fruit	
And misses	
Any way it is inedible	
It is always thus	
In the Public Garden.	        
 
Parallel lines	
An old man	
Eyeing a white muslin girl's school	
And all this	
As pleasant as bewildering	        
Would not eventually meet	
I am for ever bewildered	
Old men are often grown greedy—	
What nonsense	
It is noon	        
And salvation's seedlings	
Are headed off for the refectory.

Related Poems

The Phoenix

My phoenix long ago secured 
   His nest in sky-vault's cope; 
In the body's cage immured, 
   He is weary of life's hope. 

Round and round this heap of ashes 
   Now flies the bird amain, 
But in that odorous niche of heaven 
   Nestles the bird again. 

Once flies he upward, he will perch 
   On Tuba's golden bough: 
His home is on that fruited arch 
   Which cools the blest below. 

If over this world of ours 
   His wings my phoenix spread, 
How gracious falls on land and sea 
   The soul-refreshing shade! 

Either world inhabits he, 
   Sees oft below him planets roll; 
His body is all of air compact, 
   Of Allah's love his soul.

Archaic Torso of Apollo

We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,

gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark center where procreation flared.

Otherwise this stone would seem defaced
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders
and would not glisten like a wild beast's fur:

would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star: for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.

The Origin of Birds

For hours, the flowers were enough.
Before the flowers, Adam had been enough.
Before Adam, just being a rib was enough.
Just being inside Adam’s body, near his heart, enough.
Enough to be so near his heart, enough
to feel that sweet steady rhythm, enough
to be a part of something bigger was enough.
And before the rib, being clay was enough.
And before clay, just being earth was enough.
And before earth, being nothing was enough.
But then enough was no longer enough.
The flowers bowed their heads, as if to say, enough,
and so Eve, surrounded by peonies, and alone enough,
wished very hard for something, and the wish was enough
to make the pinecone grow wings; the wish was enough
to point to the sky, say bird, and wait for something to sing.