Literature 3-4-2008

What Light: This Week’s Poem: Diana Lundell

We begin a third year of What Light with a poem by Diana Lundell, selected by another of the contest's winningest poets, Jen March. In addition to M & Q we're welcoming a new sponsor, Artisan Vineyards. Check in for weekly poetry and wine pairings.


Small Consolation

I should have seen it coming.
All summer long, birds were trying to get in
my room through the window,
closed due to air conditioning.
They mistook the pane for opportunity—
a hallmark decision of error—
bodies flung at naked glass,
heavy thuds of surprise as wings
crashed against the immovable.
Did I draw them to me?
Perhaps it was the light
glowing from my computer screen
or fingers tapping the keyboard
or the way phantom light captures sheen on my hair.
It’s clear it was all about how the appearance of things
can make seem right what’s amiss.
I blame the sun– nipple of light streaking the glass,
a cruel dream of golden luminescence.
As usual the birds weren’t fazed for long,
flying off stunned, a bit woozy,
into crooked flight
that soon journeyed into straight.

In the early fall, birds made the same blunder.
I see now it was after one of those moments
a sparrow sought wrong flight
that I stroked my belly full of secret
and the miniature heart within me
fluttered to beat for the last time.
This winter, I miss the birds.


For me, a poem is good when I feel it in my gut. I’m most attracted to honesty, unexpected truisms, tantalizing new words, pure imagery and metaphor shaped into startling beauty. A clever title always sucks me in or an opening line that is, at once, inviting and a bit bizarre. As a poet, I never define who I am, because I’m ever in the process of reinventing myself. Simply speaking, I write what most disturbs me. I am a voracious reader of poetry, mostly free-verse written in the last seventy-five years. Recent poets I’ve enjoyed: Mark Turcotte, Deborah Keenan, Ashley Capps, Richard Blanco, Li-Young Lee, John Engman and Elizabeth Bishop. Old standby favorites I never tire of: James Wright, Sylvia Plath and Edna St. Vincent Millay.


Diana Lundell is the author of Awaking Indigo, a collection of poetry from Puddinghouse Press. Her poetry has won several contests and has been publicly performed by professional actors. Over the years, her work has also appeared in various publications, most recently Elegant Thorn Review, Whistling Shade, Eagan Magazine, Stonewritings and Metro Magazine. She has also appeared on “Write On Radio” and has given several interviews with magazines and publications on writing. You can find her at or on her deck gazing into the wonder of a twilight sky, and imagining—always imagining.

This week’s poetry and wine pairing:

Composed of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, and 6% Petit Verdot, this latest rendition of Cyrus exploits the nearly perfect growing conditions of the renowned Alexander Valley. The tremendous amount of fruit flavors, including black cherry, plum and cassis are matched perfectly with a like amount of spicy oak. The velvety mouth-feel is similarly complemented by firm yet not unyielding tannins. Aged both in American and French oak for twenty-four months and twelve months in the bottle prior to release, this wine is at once enjoyable and age-worthy for at least a decade.