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Four and Twenty Blackbirds Soaring

by Louis Daniel Brodsky

The Poet Admonishes Himself

After humid June, dry July,
And September's first, thirsting half,
The cruel, fetid days
Begin cooling to soothing hues;
Relief reawakens the battered spirit,
Renews the subdued soul
To primal delight in elemental essences:
Trees, streams, houses being painted,
People taking evening walks,
Children rushing to and from school
Igniting the creative spark
By striking curiosity, intellect, and memory
Against the base flint, ignorance.

With such immediate jubilation,
Who has even a moment to heed omens
Dropped from gnawing squirrels,
Twisting from limbs into brittleness,
Or fluttering earthward
From wing tips bound south out of time?
And who was meant to sequester himself
Brooding over such autumnalities
When Fall's Indian summer
Makes itself so accessible to us all
Just by our calling out its myriad names?
Even the most devoted poet
Should be ashamed to squander energy indoors
Seducing a too accommodating Muse.

"Fool!" I admonish myself.
"Forget despondency!
Exchange your grievances and lethargy
For a swim in the quick-running arteries!"
Ah, what a rush to be floated alive
Toward the core
From whose auricled promontory
Those who crave that free-falling feeling
Of leaving the head through the heart
Leap and soar!

Use the player below to listen to Louis Daniel Brodsky read this poem.



This sampler, divided into six sections, each containing eight poems devoted to one subject — Imagination, Alienation, Lovesongs, Poet, The Heartland, and Transcendence — introduces Brodsky's readership to the breadth of his thematic range and might indeed be considered a "garden book of verse."


Formalist in structure but "confessional" in tone, Brodsky's poems are civilized, urbane, polite, their language . . . akin to that of good, cultured conversation.
— Denys Viat, author of Les Amoreaux du Printemps and Un Monde en Marge


A collection that represents the best of Louis Brodsky's poetry. It contains all the variations . . . keenly edged satire . . . elegant and witty whimsy  . . . the charming meditation on man's estate in this world.
— Cleanth Brooks, author of The Well Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry