barbara_hepworth_stringed_figure_d5554106hafter Stringed Figure (Curlew) by Barbara Hepworth

I am wings
springing from breast, sweeping back, each curve echoing
the other. Meaning is space.
As I thrust forward my wingspan unnerves you. As I soar
do you yearn to encompass my power?

See how
I enfold head and heart in flight. Map out
my hungers and dangers, the complex of my parts. Feel my weight

and weightlessness,
bone mesh, skeins of blood, speckle and lie of feathers.
You will never explain the egg
where I began, dig out the deeply bedded knowledge
that guides me through dark and light.

Hold me down
and I will rise up above the crests on fierce waters,
above the sheer of rocks, above the heave and scramble of moors.

And I will be
here, there, within you, everywhere,
my flung wingtips longing to come together,
striving to complete a shape as I pierce and pierce the blue rush.

© 2008, poem excerpted with the poet’s permission from her book, “Circling the Core,” All rights reserved; photograph, Stringed Figure (Curlew) (Version I), Brass with strings, 1956 (BH 225 A, edition of 9), copyright Barbara Hepworth

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