In 2007 - 08, Lesley Harrison spent a year working in Mongolia with The Journals of Marco Polo as her constant reading companion. This small but perfectly formed chapbook is the poetic result of her year.
One Bird Flying is beautifully spare, meditative and evocative. The reader is taken instantly to the wide open lands of Mongolia,
a mountain lake, its jade skin
delicate and fractured.
to spend time with the nomadic peoples and the birds that live there. There is the sense of a culture that is one with nature (or at least more at ease with it than we in the West have mostly become)
at the beginning of the sky
an empty road full of sunlight,
one bird flying overhead.
Harrison's own poetry alternates with her poetic renderings of The Journals of Marco Polo:
The Mongol way of hunting is not to fire
at herds, for perhaps a higher spirit
lives in the body of a wild gazelle
and its light and holiness
bow gather other animals round it.
(from The Journals of Marco Polo, Book II.10)
Together they weave a beautiful tapestry of Mongolian culture and landscape:
this radiance, this water light
this empty room of light and list
a single bell
that holds its note, inaudibly, for days.
One Bird Flying by Lesley Harrison, published by Mariscat.
Lesley will be reading from her new collection Beyond the Map at the Scottish Poetry Library tomorrow at 6.30pm. The event is free.
and meanwhile I have another haiku on Daily Haiku today, you can read it here.