Gleaning Song

These are registers on the staff
of days: grains of dust that gather

like vellum in summer, the high and lazy
whirring of ceiling fans. Drifts of yellow

petals falling from the tulip trees, pitch
and warble of birds. Gather and gather,

lisp the ants and worker bees; pluck
and scour
. The season lilts like a song

working the route to its coda. Lyric by lyric
the mouth learns the intricate passages:

where the rests are, and the furrows.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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  1. Lyric by lyric/ the mouth learns the intricate passages:/where the rests are, and the furrows.

    THE GLEANER’S SONG

    When the gleaners stretch their backs at sundown
    among the terraces, they troll their ditties of work,
    and throw their jute sacks on their sunburnt backs:

    “Where the heavens meet the sea, O Kannoyan,
    Where the pinetrees sway with the wind dance,
    We will be there, we shall gather the roots, gather

    the banana leaves to wrap the broiled mudfish,
    and bring them home, bring them home, to hold
    the feast at eventide, to burn venison in campfire.

    O, Old Kannoyan, we praise you with our songs,
    we pray with our flaccid hands that in the morrow
    will be strong, we bless you with our gleaner’ song.”

    At sunrise, they will be there again to trace roots
    that lace the furrows of ancient soil, where fathers
    have found their forebears’ lair laden with lore

    about the worksongs of the native braves, tillers
    of the softened clay, hunters of the ripened hills
    where wild boars roamed with the dappled deer.

    I will learn these songs, sing these songs, until
    every passage, every word, shall have become
    my martial beat and the quiet lullaby of my soul.

    —Albert B. Casuga
    06-13-11

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