The maestro waves his baton1

Emu makes me sing
new notes: a diapason

I feel the blood-pain but can’t see the claw.2

Semiotic bird
object-coding Barthes’ bliss
einfuhlung abates.

Why is it to be happy, we cannot know we are?3

Waking with Emu.
Your face the first thing I see.
My fine, feathered friend.


And it all has something of love
Even if this love can’t speak 4

1 Fernando Pessoa, “Slanting Rain.”
2 Fernando Pessoa, “I Hear Night Across the Street.”
3 Fernando Pessoa “Almost Anonymous You Smile.”
4 Fernando Pessoa, “The Child That Laughs in the Street.”




He got into a box of miracles and stole three. With the first he made it so no one would know he had run away. With the second he made himself a human boy forever. 5

            With the third, he made
            you, Bird, made good, up for all
            bad birds before you

He’s the Eternal Child, the god who was missing6
            emu, bird of pray,
            infertile easter egg is hatched
            Aves Maria

 He’s the divinity who smiles and plays. The New Child who stays where I stay78
            Birthday bird. For you,
            the sun: a big cake lighting
            the whole lucky world.
Gives one hand to me. And the other to everything that exists9
            a bird in hand--send
            me an emu right now right
            now you’ve made the world
And so we three go along whatever road there is10
            Across continents
            ages, species, we’d find us
            birds of a feather
Skipping and singing and laughing11
            you are the silver
            lining in my cloud, emu
            we flock together
And delighting in our common secret12
            common passion flames,
            dies, renews. No emu you,
            rather a phoenix-

5 (Fernando Pessoa as) Alberto Caeiro
6 “ “  “ “
7 “ “  “ “
8 “ “  “ “
9 “ “  “ “
10 “ “  “ “
11 “ “  “ “
12 “ “  “ “




we opened the clouds
like letters or bathrobes: a
spill of words and form.



Paradise inside
your wings: piñata’s pretty
plenty poured from you



Bird of many forms,
stanzas, weathers various.
I ducked into you



asked the sky, yourselves
a tree; still never knew just
what was loved in me.




How I love you all, all, all13

            common passion flames,
            dies, renews. No emu you,
            rather a phoenix-

And my head burns wanting to sing you14

            Whitman sang of that
            procreant urge, Strange Bird,
            your body's electric.

That I love, I explode, I roar with order and hidden measure15

            Flight of the fluid
            and swallowing soul O
            Emu! My Emu!

I want to live at large in the air16

            Earth-bound bird, bearing
            me sunward. Icarus. Then,
            wings gone, we are joined.

Facing you, I’d want a little less engineer in my soul17

            Silence me with your
            beak. You bring the little death,
            destroyer of words.


Ah you, who sang it all, you left everything to sing18

13 Fernando Pessoa as Alvaro de Campos
14 “  “   “   “
15 “  “   “   “
16 “  “   “   “
17 “  “   “   “
18 “  “   “   “




is my need for bird
in the hand. Your worth: priceless:
some branch! such lightings!


The bird alights, looking only to its alighting
Its desire to alight mattering more than the branch.19


Gimlet-eyed bird, curve
beaked. Devour my heart, just
fee for stolen fire.


And each year with spring the leaves appear20


Our three-personed love
is done, emu-headed God. Though
chased, now unravished.

And each year with autumn, they fall from the trees.21

Lovely Bird, maybe
the night has a thousand eyes
weeping just for you

19 Ricardo Reis “I Was Never One Who in Love or in Friendship”
20 “    “ “I Prefer Roses, My Love, to the Homeland”
21 “  “   “  “ “ “ “ “ “