The Lyrebird, Hidden. His Dance, Hidden. His Wish

Marianne Boruch

to dance, also hidden. But he will get the girl.His featherless, out of the egg pre-wish to dance hidden too.His hidden hidden. His pre-egg in the nest, hidden. Its yolk and whitenot yet yolk and white, equally hidden.A song the lyrebird steps to and into. By heart and habit.But hidden. Ditto that wild footloose, the very thingalso hidden from us, the thing famous and forlorn and ecstatic.His mimic song, an old sound effect record from the '50s, a camera'sclick then its whirl, a braking truck, a car alarm, a chainsawplus twenty other birds screaming. Properly: redoes them.His sound bites, the more worldly the betterto wow-woo her. Under trees. On the little mound he's clearedto dance. The way ahead circled by thorns and, higher up, stars.How small must one beto be hidden? How large to pass through larger things hidden—sky by clouds, rain by darkness or dawn,hopelessness by the wish for what's next and next.Please. Don't think fire, not yet. Or smoke, flight, the dark all daya kind of pandemic. Too early or too late in those woods.But we saw a posted alert for the is: this bird can danceand sing his way into that mythic throbof lady-business. Some resourceful someonemade it precise, and only slightly pornographic the arrow (this way!)to where he-of-the-one-track-mind might stand and hidein the voice of such worldly things.The wooden notice nearly sang what he's up to, the bird's danceand song, his fabulous hind feathers to hypnotize the very onewho maybe thought all along she'd have some other fate.Hidden but about to not be, hidden but ancient unto the day.No, we never saw him. Or her, for that matter. But me, a life member,the World Congress of the Disappointed, I understand hope.As in, who knew art was involved? It's a sign.

Feature Date

Series

Selected By

Share This Poem

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

Print This Poem

Share on print
Photo of Marianne Boruch
Photo:
David Dunlap

Marianne Boruch’s ten books of poems include The Anti-Grief and Cadaver, Speak (Copper Canyon, 2019, 2014); three essay collections, most recently The Little Death of Self (Michigan’s Poets on Poetry Series), and a memoir, The Glimpse Traveler (Indiana, 2011). Her forthcoming Bestiary Dark from Copper Canyon is the result of her five months in Australia on a Fulbright, observing the astonishing wildlife there. Other honors include the Kingsley-Tufts Award for The Book of Hours (Copper Canyon, 2011), plus fellowships/residencies from the Guggenheim Foundation, the NEA, the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, and two national parks (Denali and Isle Royale). Her work appears in The New York Review of Books, Poetry, The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, The London Review of Books, and elsewhere. Boruch taught at Purdue University for 33 years, going rogue and emeritus in 2018. She continues on faculty in the low-residency MFA Program at Warren Wilson College.

Cover of New England Review Volume 42

Volume 42.1

Middlebury, Vermont

Middlebury College

Editor
Carolyn Kuebler

Managing Editor
Marcia Pomerance

Poetry Editors
Rick Barot
Jennifer Chang

By publishing new fiction, poetry, and nonfiction that is both challenging and inviting, New England Review encourages artistic exchange and thought-provoking innovation, providing publishing opportunities for writers at all stages in their careers. The selection of writings in each issue presents a broad spectrum of viewpoints and genres, including traditional and experimental fiction, long and short poems, translations, criticism, letters from abroad, reviews in arts and literature, and rediscoveries. New England Review exists in a place apart from mass culture, where speed and information overload are the norm. At NER, serious writing is given serious attention, from the painstaking selection process through careful editing and publication, where finally the writer’s words meet up with a curious and dedicated readership.

Poetry Daily Depends on You

With your support, we make reading the best contemporary poetry a treasured daily experience. Consider a contribution today.