turn as one

the cloud of white birds
turn as one
across the vast farmland
for an instant shine
in the waning sun
the white birds turn as one.
the white mountains shine behind.
the fast river
flows around the smooth smooth stones.
the farmer wipes her brow
and turns again
to the nascent living soil.
Oh! Oh!
beautiful beautiful beautiful day.
I and my son turn as one
and walk back home.
we turn as one.

Posted in Poetry and tagged .


  1. The first piece has a very musical quality to it and the second is quite dreamlike. Very lovely, both.PS Thank you for reading my interview!

  2. from Therese Broderick — This poem certainly does convey your wonder at the new place you are discovering, vista by vista by vista. I like that you double the repeated exclamation (oh oh) at one place in the poem. The many turnings in the poem do, after all, relate to the prompt and it hinges. Lovely!

  3. I hadn't thought about it, but I had been meditating on the idea of the hinge through the week. The whole idea of turning, which is the point of the poem, is like the hinge. I have to give credit for this to my subconscience more than deliberate design.

  4. I agree with Cynthia – your poem does have a musical quality to it. For me, personally, it conjured up the message of Ecclesiastes via the The Byrd's "Turn! Turn! Turn!"

  5. I can feel your attachment to this place throughout the poem. The "turn as one" refrain is effective, I think. It's half song, half meditation — maybe a lamentation, all told. Wonderfully simple and grounded. Thanks for sharing this!

  6. Lovely thought.your comments around moving make me think that one can grieve for place, or for time, just as deeply as for a lost person

  7. From my friend Scott Cooley, whose response was so wonderful I had to post it here; he really understands me!Jim, I just read your "turn as one poem" and wanted to post a comment, but wasn't sure if I had to have some kind of special account or identity, etc. So instead, I am sending my comment to you via e-mail. Here it is: "Oh!the cloud of white birdsturn as one…" (sky, air)"Oh!the fast riverflows around the smooth smooth stones…" (Where a school of minnows dart and shift and 'turn as one' – river, water) "Oh!the farmer wipes her browand turns againto the nascent living soil…" (Upon which a herd of galloping wild horses change their course and 'turn as one' – earth, land)It happens in all the spheres, doesn't it? And of course people do it. You and your son did it walking home. High school marching bands do it for our entertainment. And in another sense everybody does it when we follow a new fad or trend; when we adopt a new philosophy or truth; when our routines and rituals are impacted by a new, pervasive technology. Oh, and another thing. I know you my friend. I know where this poem is coming from. It is not a meditation or a lamentation. At its very core it is a love poem – a declaration of your love for God's creation. You are overwhelmed by its majesty and mystery ("beautiful beautiful beautiful day"), and if you could, you would wrap your arms, no, your very soul, around it all until you absorbed it completely. Then you, along with this glorious creation we call earth – on its celestial axis – could turn as One. Scott

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