Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Such Singing in the Wild Branches

It was spring

and finally I heard him

among the first leaves -

then I saw him clutching the limb

in an island of shade

with his red-brown feathers

all trim and neat for the new year.

First, I stood still

and thought of nothing.

Then I began to listen.

Then I was filled with gladness -

and that's when it happened,

when I seemed to float,

to be, myself, a wing or a tree -

and I began to understand

what the bird was saying,

and the sands in the glass


for a pure white moment

while gravity sprinkled upward

like rain, rising,

and in fact

it became difficult to tell just what it was that was singing -

it was the thrush for sure, but it seemed

not a single thrush, but himself, and all his brothers,

and also the trees around them,

as well as the gliding, long-tailed clouds

in the perfectly blue sky - all, all of them

were singing.

And, of course, yes, so it seemed,

so was I.

Such soft and solemn and perfect music doesn't last

for more than a few moments.

It's one of those magical places wise people

like to talk about.

One of the things they say about it, that is true,

is that, once you've been there,

you're there forever.

Listen, everyone has a chance.

Is it spring, is it morning?

Are there trees near you,

and does your own soul need comforting?

Quick, then - open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song

may already be drifting away.

The Wood Thrush of North America has a song some describe as hauntingly beautiful. As a child I walked frequently alone in the woods and though this bird sang just for me. Whenever family confusion got stirred up on our home and my soul needed comforting, to the woods I went to hear a reprieve. I'd enter the doorway of trees with heavy feet and after a walk singing I'd leave the woods flying. The song of a bird tells us all that we all have a chance for liberation, even the most tortured, even the torturers. Within the deepest recesses of the fractured human dilemma of competition versus collaboration, and care versus harm, we are hauntingly beautiful. May you hear such a song of freedom today.

If you could give yourself a new chance today, what would it be?

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