Sunday, October 16, 2011

"lives without beaks, without feathers, irretrievably lost"

























Once
I used to peruse the altlas of birds
that have vanished from the face of the earth,
the work of a pupil of David who had
failed in the genre of historical painting
and other monumental artistic aspirations.
I was musing on hypothetical atlases
of lives without beaks, without feathers,
irretrievably lost through the millennia,
insects, reptiles, fish
and also, why not? man himself
but who would have compiled or consulted
his opus magnum?


From "Once" by Eugenio Montale. The rest of the poem is here.

Laughing owl (Sceloglaux albifacies), John Gerrard Keulemans, c.1875

About the Laughing Owl

1 comment:

Lucy said...

Such great beauty and sadness