Jun 19 2013

Elizabeth Reninger – Bird Bath

Published by at 8:42 am under Poetry

Bird Bath
by Elizabeth Reninger

only this
matters: this ecstatic
baptism

this standing on stick-
thin legs where the singing
creek pools at the lip
of the waterfall

only this
ruby-feathered
chest diving to meet
its reflection

this beak piercing
again and again that quivering
surface, these wings half-
unfolding, a ruffle

of joy guiding rivers
of light a tumble
of droplets dressed
in rainbows along your hidden
spine

shattering all
decorum beneath
blue branches in quiet

assent. . .

— from And Now the Story Lives Inside You, by Elizabeth Reninger


/ Photo by Peter G. Trimming /

Isn’t this a wonderful poem? A distilled moment, a red-breasted bird at a bird bath, its thin legs in the water. It looks down at its own reflection in the surface, plunges, shaking the water through its feathers. Just an instant of life that happens every day, yet through the poet’s eyes it suggests so much to us.

…where the singing
creek pools at the lip
of the waterfall

This isn’t in a manmade bird bath, but in a small river, with living, flowing water. We are at a small precipice, at the edge of a waterfall, and it is there that we find a stillpoint.

Naturally, we are the robin. We look down into the stillness right at the edge, and see a reflection of ourselves. With a bold, joyful movement, we dive to meet ourselves, merge with ourselves, pierce the surface. In the explosion of the moment, we find life in ourselves, cleansing, baptism, communion.

..these wings half-
unfolding, a ruffle

of joy guiding rivers
of light a tumble
of droplets dressed
in rainbows along your hidden
spine

The poet, being a practitioner of Yoga and Qigong, perhaps intends to suggest the ecstatic rush of Kundalini along the spine. Or perhaps simply it is the glistening light and movement of the moment that comes alive in us.

shattering all
decorum beneath
blue branches in quiet

assent. . .

I think I like these final lines best of all. The “decorum” of the world around us itself is “shattered” by this moment of life. But that reality accepts that disruption, it seems to approve and give its blessing, it offers “quiet assent.”

One of those special poems.






Elizabeth Reninger

US (1963 – )
Secular or Eclectic
Taoist

Elizabeth is a practitioner of the Taoist arts of qigong, acupuncture, tuina and poetry; and has been exploring the terrain of Inner Alchemy (Yoga/Qigong in various forms) for upwards of twenty-five years. She has had the privilege and good fortune of receiving instruction from a number of great Taoist, Buddhist and Hindu Teachers.

She writes an insightful, exploratory, often playful blog on Taoism at http://taoism.about.com/

I’m still waiting for Elizabeth Reninger’s poetry to be discovered by the wider world. Do yourself a favor and buy a copy of her book And Now the Story Lives Inside You. Buy two, and give a copy to a friend. Perfect to read after a dawn walk or in the evening when the world grows quiet.

Elizabeth Reninger lives, teaches, writes, and plays in Boulder, Colorado.

More poetry by Elizabeth Reninger

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Elizabeth Reninger – Bird Bath”

  1. franon 19 Jun 2013 at 2:08 pm

    I was magnetically draw into the imagery and touched to see you refer to ‘a stillpoint’ as I am studying cranio sacral work. Again much appreciation for your tapping into the perfect circle that is all round, no pun intended. :D blessings

  2. Carolon 20 Jun 2013 at 4:33 am

    Good morning Ivan,

    Thank you for this lovely poem – the words took my breath away. And the closing -
    ‘assent’ – is like a blessing, so be it. . .
    With a close friend in the hospital, this will lighten the day. Thank You.

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