Quatour pour la fin du temps - villanelle 2

I am blind. I find my way in the dark
with poetry. Messiaen used music.
France is a parliament of fowls embarked

for the abyss. string instruments are parks
of trees where the journeying birds mimic
the void - sounding less like feathers than bark

in their plaint. the cello is a rood stark
and raw on which a dead bird is benthic
in its death. only the clarinet marks

how unsounded void still is. no ethnarch
survives to command in worse than tragic
circumstances - no hoopoe thrush skylark

or nightingale. yet from the bleak beak sparks
those trees turned to rainbows. angelic
power makes an announcement - and time harks

back to its keyboard setting. the bow arcs
out subdued the violin’s intrinsic
blind alley. o Simurgh France - Jeanne d’Arc
danced fire - polemarch for your bright arch.

Woodford Halse , UK, 14 October 2021

The Quatour pour la fin du temps of Olivier Messiaen (1908-92) and a little help from the Farsi poet Attar of Nishapur (c. 1145 - c 1221) and his Mantiq al-tayr, the Conference of Birds.