Birds on My Mind: “Doves” by C.K. Williams

Haim Watzman

    Photo by Chris Basset
Photo by Chris Basset
People who care about the world around them, about other people, about literature, are frustrated people. Once we get to adulthood, our lives fill up with junk and we never have enough time for the things we consider really important. We never seem to be able to devote enough attention to our lovers, friends, and children, so we never know them as intimately as we by all rights should. Calm contemplation of the landscape around us is a rare luxury; when do we have time to simply observe, simply to listen? And what of the worthwhile books we have never read, and the poems we know and love but have never had the time to commit, as we should, to memory?

C.K. William, a great bard of love askew and the missed opportunity, encapsulates this frustration with no little irritation and a measure of humor in his poem “Doves.” I came across it last week in my progress through Williams’ Collected Poems; it’s from his latest, best book, The Singing.

The poet has woken in the early dawn. He’s lying in bed, trying to focus on the morning light, on the morning’s sounds. But how can he? “So much crap in my head,/So many rubbishy facts,/So many half-baked/theories and opinions,” Williams sighs, like an overtaxed blogger.

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