Thursday, February 15, 2018

parts of a tune


One old man keeps humming the same few notes
of some song he thought he had forgotten
back in the days when as he knows there was
no word for life in the language 
and if they wanted to say eyes or heart
they would hold up a leaf and he remembers
the big tree where it rose from the dry ground
and the way the birds carried water in their voice

they were all the color of their fear of the dark

and as he sits there humming he remembers
some of the words they come back to him now

he smiles hearing them come and go

–W. S. Merwin
The Shadow of Sirius


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