sun in the crowns
of the oaks

ringing less
like a church bell

than the beeper on a truck
backing into a quarry pit

coming over top of the mingled
voices of birds

whose throats each mix
two vocal tracks

into a single braid ah
the wood thrush

redstart red-eyed vireo
and that alluring odor

from a bank of dame’s-rocket
trembling in one spot

i thought just as a chipmunk’s
tail was disappearing

into the lilies
of the valley


Natures are close to one another. It is by practice that they become far apart.
Kongzi, Analects 17.2 (tr. Brian W. Van Norden)

2 Replies to “Gestalt”

  1. I’m always fascinated by all the different bird voices that get a mention in your morning pieces. Most of them don’t exist in Australia. (Likewise for the critters.) I like it when you not only mention the bird voices but also describe them, so I don’t have to guess. I’m impressed with the abundance of living things which surround you.

    1. I’m glad those are points of interest and even connection for you. I do often worry that grounding my poems in such particularities makes them inaccessible to many, in the same way that Bible references go over the heads of most younger folks now, but without the particular, my kind of poetry ceases to exist.
      The best online sources for avian audio are the Cornell Lab of Onithology – a brilliant resource for North American birds in particular – and Xeno-Canto, a decentralized, user-generated, worldwide catalog of Creative Commons-licensed bird songs.

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