Unending Lyric

This entry is part 21 of 93 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Summer 2011


Zealous at long rehearsals, tenacious at audition— the brushed
yellow-olive, drab-coated vireo hangs upside down then
exits the tree with a prize: red berry or dun kernel, blur of
winged insect disappearing down the hatch of its throat.
Valediction isn’t its song: not a saying farewell, not the
up-swelling notes of a soprano— just the same
tremulous question and answer all through the day.
Sound shivers like a string when plucked. I learned
rote-singing, then followed the pencil across the staff:
quarter-notes, eighths, sixteenths; the rests like little
puffs of breath propelling onward. And yes it’s work,
opening the chest to let the air of longing out for that
nimbus of release, though brief and incommensurate.
My audible heart wants a nest like a cup in the fork of a tree.
Lit up at night, in that forest of softened trills, who
knows how the air might shear its stuttering refrains,
join the failed parts of songs as leitmotif?
I practice and practice though nobody hears.
Hoarse from effort and nearly at empty, I
gloss sometimes over difficult parts that
find a way of coming back, sliding into another
edge of passage. Nothing ever stays still:
do you see how the moon shimmers, then
clears a path for the screech owl’s call?
Bright, brassy, or somber rounding in the mouth—
answer that burns salt shapes on the tongue.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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10 Replies to “Unending Lyric”

  1. I read it, and afterward my eyes ride up and down the trapezoid of the text, picking out nuggets. What Luisa creates is astonishing.

      1. Luisa: Oops, yes, in reverse! Even better. :-)

        Dave: Oh, you know, I notice things like that because I hope to someday discover a secret acrostic message in a poem. I think the poet Gwen Harwood’s ‘F*ck All Editors’ acrostic published in a national Australian magazine made me realise how much fun could be had with a seemingly innocuous poem. :-D

  2. My audible heart wants a nest like a cup in the fork of a tree./…who knows how the air might shear its stuttering refrains,/join the failed parts of songs as leitmotif?


    Would the cup of my palms nestle you?
    Give you a nestling’s echoing chamber,
    where you could trill all you want or can?

    That wind behind the trees, would it pick
    your notes up and let your song be whole
    again, your refrains brave and true again?

    Through these woods, troll like a stout
    heart whose one crescendo is of gladness
    that the day’s night must bring a sunrise

    as bright as it is gentle when it presses
    your cold back to a warm hug of home,
    where you will fearlessly sing your song:

    Fly with me to the swaying tree tops!
    Reach out for me. I am back. I am home.

    —Albert B. Casuga

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