‘The Birdman of Gdansk’ by Leo Yankevich The Society May 1, 2018 Beauty, Culture, Poetry 10 Comments When cathedral bells toll through the morning and sunlight touches steeples with its glare, and arrows on the town hall clock stop turning, you will find him on the market square, sweeping leaves in shadows of despair. And in that instant you will cease your yearning. Hunchbacked, with a chuckle he will share the secrets of his heart, and give a warning to city doves assembling at his feet, to sparrows quarrelling on Neptune’s head. He’ll lower his tobacco chin to meet their eyes and whisper what Saint Francis said. He’ll toss crumbs with his withered sailor’s hand. And when he looks up, you will understand. Leo Yankevich’s latest books are The Last Silesian (The Mandrake Press, 2005) Tikkun Olam & Other Poems (Second Expanded Edition), (Counter-Currents Publishing, 2012), Journey Late at Night: Poems & Translations (Counter-Currents Publishing, 2013) & The Hypocrisies of Heaven: Poems New & Old (Counter-Currents Publishing, 2016). More of his work can be found at Leo Yankevich.com. Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 10 Responses Joe Tessitore May 1, 2018 Sally Cook refers to you as “Prince Leo” and she’s right. Poetry like this, time after time, can only come from a princely heart. Bravo Leo❣️ Reply James Sale May 1, 2018 Another brilliant poem from ‘Prince Leo’: the last line is sublime in its simplicity and also in its suggestiveness. Wonderful stuff. Reply Sally Cook May 1, 2018 Joe T., I believe I have spoken of “Count” Leo, as this is who he actually is. But beyond that, he is also a Prince of Poetry. Glad you caught that. Leo, yes, the birds and animals are much more knowing than some people, and honest in their beliefs and responses to life. I do prefer them to many people. Thank you for again hitting the mark. Sally Reply Joe Tessitore May 1, 2018 “Countly heart” doesn’t work. This is one of those times when my memory lapses turn out for the better. Reply Beatriz May 1, 2018 Lovely sonnet with a message that pierces the heart. Reply Dave Whippman May 1, 2018 Very evocative; and I like the way that some of the lines vary in rhythm while still keeping the overall metrical pattern. Good work. Reply David Watt May 2, 2018 You have captured the scene and the attendant emotions perfectly. Reply David Hollywood May 2, 2018 Splendidly sensitive and discerning. Thank you Reply Joseph S. Salemi May 2, 2018 Gdansk of course is the city of Danzig — at times German, at times Polish, at times independent. It is a city imprisoned in its tumultuous history. Might the title of this poem recall “The Birdman of Alcatraz”? In that film a man is imprisoned, and his birds become the symbol of a freedom that is longed for, but impossible. Reply Leo Yankevich May 5, 2018 Thank you, all, for your kind comments Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.