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Posts Tagged ‘sound’

 

 

 

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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So busy watching my feet
move over the small stones,
dried leaves, paths of ants,
it is a long time before
I see the birds.

*

What is it I am circling?
What is this longing
to name it?

*

The slats of shadow
and light only look
like prisons.
We slide through the bars
like song.

*

The bell does not ring
when we call it bell. It rings
with the playing of it.

*

And what is playing me,
this too-solid bell of a
flesh called woman,
Hollow me, I am
diligently practicing
my one note
in the symphony.

*

All these obstacles,
and still
the unspiraling line.

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No surprise then,
the crash
the splatter
the moans
the tones
all splitting
from whole
to half
the silence
underneath
it all
the eventual
descant—
laugh.

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