Richard Higgs

Richard sent this poem recently via email, and his only comment, besides thanking us for sharing a dinner with them, was "see attached." However, I will tell you this much: At that dinner mentioned earlier, Richard had told us a story about what happened "one warm and sunny afternoon" that was most unusual and surprising to him.  The poem below comes from that story.


Because he was a child
he understood the world
and then without warning
the tree in the ditch trembled
convulsed twisted danced
flung small dark birds
which had moments before
been singing like idiots
in the shade of its branches
to several points on the calm horizon
then returned to its

He ran down the road toward home
the blue and white sky bearing down
understanding nothing
it turned out
about the world.

        —Richard Higgs, January 2008

One never knows where Richard Higgs will enter a poem. Indeed, it is always an adventure! At a small gathering of friends the other night, Richard asked us if could read a new poem he'd just finished. It was "Listen." After reading it twice to us, I immediately asked, "Can I include this in Szárnyú?" He gratiously consented. 


Three angels glide down
on their dihedral span
blackest silhouettes, even in this glaring sun

They set about their assignment
removing your flesh from the face of the earth
in the only way they can

They work in silence
listening to the insistent hissing
of the sand in the wind

Sensing reverence in the air
the crows in the shivering cottonwood
have ceased to jeer

As one angel grips your hand (in the only way they can)
and one pecks at your eye
and one tugs, gently, at your ear

        —Richard Higgs, June 2008

See what reading history can do? The following poem comes from Richard's reading about the Aztecs, near the end of their civilization before Cortez came upon the scene in 1519. Keep reading, Richard! And keep writing about it!


From atop the redstained steps
in the imperial city of Tenochtitlan
uneasy priests eye the lowering
of the Mexica sun
unlulled by the hum
of a whirlpool of flies
suspended nearby
above the killing stone.

The casual insults of the pleasure girls
tossed to idling warriors as they step lightly over pools of blood
in the temple square below
sound more distant than ever before.

The sullen city smolders
like the mountain beyond
from fifty thousand hearths along the shore.

They have no words for Fear Of Darkness
They only have the fear.       

        —Richard Higgs, August 2008

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