“A Bird Made of Birds” | Sarah Kay

“A Bird Made of Birds” | Sarah Kay


I have a friend named Kaveh Akbar,
who is a fellow poet. And Kaveh found this photo online of the anatomical heart of a blue whale that scientists had hung
on a hook from the ceiling, which is how they were able to observe
that the heart of a blue whale is big enough that a person
can stand up fully inside of it. And when Kaveh shared this photo online, he did so with the caption, “This is another reminder that the universe has already written
the poem you were planning on writing.” And when I first saw that,
I was horrified. I was like, “Come on, man!
I’m trying to invent new metaphors! I’m trying to discover beauty
that hasn’t been discovered yet. What do you mean, the universe
is always going to get there before me?” And I know this isn’t
a uniquely poet problem, but on days when the world
feels especially big or especially impossible or especially full of grandeur, those are the days when I feel, “What do I possibly have to contribute to all of this?” Not long ago, I saw this video
that some of you may have seen. It makes the internet rounds
every couple of months. There are these birds
that are called starlings, and they fly in what’s
called a “murmuration,” which is generally
just a big cloud of birds. And someone happened to catch
a quick video on their phone of these starlings flying. And at first, it’s just an amorphous blob, and then there’s a moment
where the birds shift, and they form the shape of a starling in the sky! (Laughter) And as soon as I saw it, I was like, (Gasps) “The universe has already
written the poem you were planning on writing!” (Laughter) Except, for the first time,
it didn’t fill me with despair. Instead, I thought, “OK. Maybe it’s not my job
to invent something new. Maybe instead it’s my job to listen
to what the universe is showing me and to keep myself open
to what the universe offers, so that when it’s my turn, I can hold something to the light, just for a moment, just for as long as I have. The universe has already written the poem that you were planning on writing. And this is why you can do nothing
but point at the flock of starlings whose bodies rise and fall
in inherited choreography, swarming the sky in a sweeping curtain that, for one blistering moment, forms the unmistakeable shape of a giant bird flapping against the sky. It is why your mouth forms an “o” that is not a gasp, but rather, the beginning of, “Oh. Of course.” As in, of course the heart of a blue whale
is as large as a house with chambers tall enough
to fit a person standing. Of course a fig becomes possible when a lady wasp lays her eggs
inside a flower, dies and decomposes, the fruit, evidence of her transformation. Sometimes, the poem is so bright, your silly language will not stick to it. Sometimes, the poem is so true, nobody will believe you. I am a bird made of birds. This blue heart a house
you can stand up inside of. I am dying here inside this flower. It is OK. It is what I was put here to do. Take this fruit. It is what I have to offer. It may not be first, or ever best, but it is the only way to be sure that I lived at all. (Applause)

100 thoughts on ““A Bird Made of Birds” | Sarah Kay

  1. I had that experience but the starlings turned themselves into a massive heart in front of a church in MA, Berkshire County, where my great great grandparents built a massive church that has been since closed. However, I understand this moment in the universe, and it was love.
    This woman is a gift of love. ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿงกโค๏ธ๐Ÿ’œ

  2. ohh, i'm always excited to see sarah kay on here, she's a true artist and always manages to make you think and re-think with her poems

  3. So… am I an a-hole made of smaller a-holes? Or am I an a-hole that is part of a giant a-hole?
    https://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/9ewslo/a_bird_made_of_birds/

  4. I absolutely love Sarah but i didn't really like this.. It seemed full of " fake wisdom" like she was forcing a wisdom that is not there

  5. Just wanted to share my perspective. From my ignorance, lack of knowledge in this field of thought this is the least inspiring talk I have ever heard. Seems so silly and nonsense. Over dramatic and meaningless

  6. Not sure if that would have been my approach of the thing but remarkable and magnificent subject to think and speak of

  7. Sarah Kay โค
    Your performance is the essence of your poetry!
    And yes, you have already written the poems I plan to write, you're my Universe.
    My thought keeper.
    Thank you for sharing yourself to the world. You're very Precious cuz you make us feel so ๐Ÿ˜Œ

  8. Gaga go go FA FA foo E! A bird made of birds equals a bird flying in the sky wonderfully happening in the sky and the birds love the sky because the sky is the sky and the birds are the birds. The birds represent the birds in the sky and because the sky is the sky and the birds are the birds they are very happy because birds in the sky are happy thank you for your wonderful poem I totally understand that birds are in the sky in the sky loves the birds.

  9. "The universe has already written the poem you were planning on writing." What do you have to contribute to the universe? #TEDTalk https://twitter.com/tedstalkin

  10. okay was anybody going to tell me that figs are pollinated by wasps laying their eggs and dying inside or was i just supposed to learn that from a soft & inspiring poem by sarah kay

  11. "It may not be first, or ever best"
    "But this is the only way to be sure that i lived it off."

    I found it very beautiful, about acceptance

  12. The soul of the whale and the burning heart
    Fairy tales from Alaska

    A raven that flew far beyond the sea, on and on, then saw no land, grew tired and hungry, barely able to stay afloat, saw a large whale, flew directly into its throat.
    It was bright and warm inside and he recognized a young beautiful woman working on a burning lamp. She welcomed the raven, but said he should never touch the lamp. The woman did not sit still on the bench, but disappeared from the room at frequent intervals. After a few times, the raven asked her what would worry her so much. She answered, "life and my breath," which he did not understand at all.
    The curiosity in him grew from time to time, so that he finally touched the lamp. The woman rushed into the room, fell to the ground and the lamp went out. It was getting dark; his remorse for the broken promise came too late. He had touched the woman's heart. That's why she died. It got hot and stinking that he lost the feathers. He did not know that the fine and the beautiful are fragile, transient and easy to destroy – he was stupid and had a tough life.
    Finally, he came with the dead whale near the land. He could not fly any more, so he turned into an ugly little man, stood on the whale and bragged that he had killed the whale, concealed what had happened before and became a great man among humans ….

  13. I was deeply impressed by Sarah"s words. Her speech is like a melody of something completely new. Thank you for your mood and thoughts. You has already told what I was planning on saying.

  14. I was so Inspired by this …I let go of Fear and started uploading Poetry and Music I created to my Youtube Page Yesterday..Thanks for the Inspiration Sarah!

  15. Wait what? Are figs actually decomposed wasps? Somebody please answer because they were my favourite but now I'm not so sure

  16. This video is so deep. Everytime I watch, I cry pondering how tiny we are in this incomprehensible grandeur of our Universe.

  17. ุงุฐูƒุฑ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ูŠุฐูƒุฑูƒ โœจ

  18. Transcription

    "The universe has already written the poem

    you were planning on writing!"

    Except, for the first time, it didn't fill me with despair.

    Instead, I thought, "OK.

    Maybe it's not my job to invent something new.

    Maybe instead it's my job to listen to what the universe is showing me

    and to keep myself open to what the universe offers,

    so that when it's my turn,

    I can hold something to the light,

    just for a moment,

    just for as long as I have.

    The universe has already written the poem

    that you were planning on writing.

    And this is why

    you can do nothing but point at the flock of starlings

    whose bodies rise and fall in inherited choreography,

    swarming the sky in a sweeping curtain

    that, for one blistering moment,

    forms the unmistakeable shape

    of a giant bird

    flapping against the sky.

    It is why your mouth forms an "o"

    that is not a gasp,

    but rather, the beginning of,

    "Oh. Of course."

    As in, of course the heart of a blue whale is as large as a house

    with chambers tall enough to fit a person standing.

    Of course a fig becomes possible

    when a lady wasp lays her eggs inside a flower,

    dies and decomposes,

    the fruit, evidence of her transformation.

    Sometimes, the poem is so bright,

    your silly language will not stick to it.

    Sometimes, the poem is so true,

    nobody will believe you.

    I am a bird
    made of birds.

    This blue heart a house you can stand up inside of.

    I am dying

    here

    inside this flower.

    It is OK.

    It is what I was put here to do.

    Take this fruit.

    It is what I have to offer.

    It may not be first,

    or ever best,

    but it is the only way to be sure

    that I lived at all.

  19. Am I the only one who noticed her legs are perfectly straight yet her upper body is swaying ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ idk if it just me but I was confused somehow ๐Ÿ˜‚ I'm just sped

  20. Is anyone going to talk about how smoothly she transitioned into spoken word from just regular speech/a simple story?? The talent she has is absolutely amazing

  21. I didn't really enjoy how she expressed her ideas, like she was about to pass out any second. She made good points though.

  22. Sarah Kay is a different breed of poet. Not like these so called, "poets" who just yell a lot and go on about about being an SJW, man bashing, fat acceptance, anti trump banter, and other acceptable subject matter that awards you those triple tens during slams. She's the real deal. The way she transitions from her regular speak to the poetic tonality was truly effortless. She speaks, having a dialog with the audience, not screams and whines like some highly spoiled rainbow haired brat. What is crafted inside her makes her outstanding in her field. Take notes poets. Take notes. I bid you a due…

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