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Posts Tagged ‘song’

Gretel Explains Herself

all those crumbs I left
on the path, it’s not
that I want to go back

it’s just that I happen to like
birdsong wherever I go

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Request

Sing me fifty-five songs, love.
I am starved for song. It’s been winter
so long, so long and my ears are full of blue.

Sing me fifty-five songs, love,
one for each finger and one for each toe,
one for each rib and twenty-three more to wish on.

Sing me fifty-five songs, love.
I don’t care if they are in tune. And if you forget
the words, I will build a nest in your hum.

Sing me fifty-five songs, love.
And I will tuck them into my hair and wrap
them around my shoulders bare and toss them into the wind.

Sing me fifty-five songs, love.
Start now but take your time. And I will weave jonquils
between the notes to blossom each time you breathe.

Sing me fifty-five songs, love.
And sing me fifty-five more. I am starved for song,
the winter’s been long, and singing is what spring is for.

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Every Day

we need not worry
that we won’t survive … we won’t
until then, this song

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Cosi e’, se vi pare
(That’s the way it is, if it seems that way to you)
—Italian saying

Under my fingers,
the chords are familiar,
allegretto, in 2/4 time.
I lean into the ritardandos,
swelling the passing tensions,
failing to remember to exhale.
The lyrics, perhaps because
they are in German,
are beautiful. I can forget
that they speak of sleepless
nights and helplessness,
and dreams that languish
unfulfilled. My voice drifts
into the rafters. What
do I know of dreams?
There is so much I do not know.
Even this life I call my own.
What do I know of it?
Who taught them to sing,
the birds in autumn?
Who taught them to dance,
the leaves? Tonight, I do not see them,
the shadows my voice moves through
as I follow the staffs in front of me.
Nor do I think of translation. Nor
do I think of who is listening,
nor of who is not. For now,
there is Schumann and Heine,
there is this voice that is borrowing me,
there is this song that says
it must be sung.

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Example Haiku

flat gray sky
the chickadee sings
no less brightly

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for Ulli Sir Jesse

Surrounded with falling,
you choose joy.

Given a minor tune,
you change a note

and the melody, now major,
finds new gaps

in the day’s dark staves.
Given a lump, you dissolve it

with tears. In the face of loss,
you smile and offer your hand.

In the hail, you sing. In the dark,
you sing. And all along the trail,

you sing and invite the world
to sing with you. I will sing

with you. Though I weep,
I will sing with you. Though

you move father away, I sing
with you, I sing with you

wherever you go, I sing
because that is what we do,

we who know harmony
as one of the ladders

to god, we who feel how
the song sings us, and because

you have taught us
so beautifully, we sing,

though it sounds perhaps
more like gurgling tonight,

more like keening, or wailing,
we sing, gonna rise up, we sing.

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Tanka

the river song
fills the evening—an homage
not to flow
but to what
stands in its way

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