* souling with charles wright

August always has me revisiting Charles Wright’s work as well as the work of other August babies like me.

This week’s poem is from his book Sestets in which he does marvels six lines at a time. Here, he takes us from a sunset sky to an implication of the soul as a canary and the body as “underground.” All the while, the lyric is suspended in an intimate, almost conspiratorial tone.

* soulful *
* soulful *

Yellow Wings – Charles Wright

When the sun goes down – and you happen to notice it –

And the sky is clear, there’s always a whitish light

edging the earth’s offerings.

This is the lost, impermanent light

The soul is pulled towards, and longs for, deep in its cave,

Little canary.

This is the light its wings dissolve in

if it ever gets out from underground.


Happy getting!


p.s. In coming up with the title of this week’s post, I came across an actual practice referred to as “souling,” a medieval belief “that for every piece of bread given to the poor a soul could be redeemed from the fire of Hell.” Read more from the site that schooled me here.

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