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Posts Tagged ‘sound’

 

 

All day the world improvises

a song for me—song of bickering robins

and whispering grass, bright chime

of a text and gravel trucks that grumble

on the highway as they pass.

 

The song I would sing for you, let it be

as spontaneous as the chattering

of the cat watching hummingbirds,

as sharp as the flap of the flag in the wind.

Let me not sing the same song I’ve sung before.

 

This is the time to sing it new, to sing

the song we didn’t know we were brave enough

to sing. This is the time to sing

the most honest song, thorn song,

green song, yelp of relentless shine.

 

This is the time to sing as if our lives

depend on it, sing the song

that comes out of attending.

Song of pushing through dirt.

Song we don’t know yet.

 

 

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Anthem

 

 

 

Today’s anthem is not

my chorus of curses

when the cat knocked

the glass of sauvignon blanc

into my open laptop.

It’s not the clashing swords

in the movie we watched

nor the sobbing

that shook me this morning

when I tried to speak of loss.

The anthem is not

the click of the door

nor the snap of the branch

beneath the Stellar’s jay

nor the soundless slide

of the moon.

Today’s anthem was the hum

I know you would have made

if you’d held me while I wept,

the waves of our breath

inviting us to wade

deeper in.

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Apparently no one told the tickle in my throat

that this was a silent retreat.

All it wanted to do was explore the sound

of throat clearing, the sound of cough.

 

All around me the sound of nothing

but breathing and sitting, but in me,

this tickle saying Notice me, Notice me.

Here I am and what will you do about it?

I told the tickle, If I were freeclimbing,

I would ignore you. My life would depend on it.

 

The tickle said, but you’re here,

here in a quiet room, and your life is at stake

in a much different way. What are you willing

to notice? What do you wish away?

Isn’t this just one more way you tell yourself

life would be better if it were different?

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surrounded by the most

lovely silence

the crow

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One Palette

 

 

shush of skis, sharp heave

of breath, wild red thump of heart—

silent trees, silent snow

 

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Before the sun rises the first day of school

the only sounds in the house are the fish tanks

as it bubbles, the rush of the river outside the window,

and the soft motor of the cat as she makes biscuits on my lap.

Even the kitchen is quiet, save the intermittent hum

of the fridge. All day, I will try to remember this,

how quiet it is, how full of peace, a great score

on which any note can be written.

 

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Everything’s a gong now—

the clang of the spoon in the mixing bowl,

the growl of the water rushing in the pipes,

the ding of the microwave’s timer,

the crow—

what isn’t an invitation to show up,

to offer the moment all our attention—

scent of pizza, barking dog, lawn mower,

sweet rose tea, that voice in my head,

the chime of the changing light.

 

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Mercy of Night

Eventually there is only the sound of the river—

what sang all day beneath the sound of dishes

clinking in the sink, beneath the carousing of crickets,

beneath the shrieks of children and the messages

left on the phone, beneath the chatter of my mind

that always swings its creaky gates, what sang all day

is still singing. It asks nothing, and in this moment

it is impossible not to give it everything—though

that is when we might start to notice that beneath

the river’s constant rush is an underhush. As any

composer knows, a tune is lost without the rests.

Somewhere inside the river song is a dry, voiceless bed,

blank as the paper the symphony’s written on—empty

beneath the staves. Eventually there is only

the sound of the river. Then that, too, fades away.

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“Mom,” he says,
“I love this note.”
I sit beside my boy
on the bench
and I say, “It’s a D,
a low D.”
And he plays
the white key
again and again
and again and
again with animal
ferocity. “Can you find
another D?” I ask,
and he finds another,
to my delight, and another
and another and another.
Then he plays the Ds
with two hands—
one a bass and one
a thrumming, heavy beat.
Again, again,
again, again,
his body is a-thrill
with it. “I love this note,”
he says again,
his eyes electric,
wild with tone,
“Mom”, he says,
“will you write
this down?
Please mom,”
he begs, as he
hammers the Ds
with an almost
violent grace.
While he sleeps,
I draw the darksome notes
in his rhythmic trance
on two otherwise empty staves.
The notes are the Union
Pacific westbound;
and they are the boy,
his feet eager as he pounds
across the field;
and they are the railing
of hail in the orchard;
and they are the hands
of a boy who is banging
out his rampant joy, freed
from a language
dipped in lead,
God, he’s free,
he is pushing all of himself
into D; and they are
the boulders
tumbled by snowmelt,
thundering along
the full riverbed;
the sound of the heart
when it beats for no reason
except that it
was made to beat.

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Sometimes the night
comes with a quiet,
although the crickets
are riotous.
Although the machinery
in the distant field
makes eddies in the dark.
Even the stars
are ohming in octaves
eight scales below
what the human ear hears
and still, there is this quiet.
I was so busy praising light
that I missed how the dark
will tenderly, slowly, with no song
open the heart. Like tonight.
How first it drains the blush
from the peaches. Then steals
the deep green from the pines,
the red from the rock walls,
the mud brown from the water,
the violet orchids that nearly
bloomed in my thoughts,
until all is gray, then grayer,
then pitch. The pine,
the wall, the water and the woman
all lose their individual shapes
and become one vast dark.
This too is a way to love.

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