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A VIEW FROM BERKELEY SPRINGS

July 23 Saturday—Joyce’s Shed


Out where there’s so much insisting
on being seen and done in mid-summer,
there’s the rare morning for sleeping in,
or at least for arresting vision.

Maybe it’s to give the sound world
full domain. In this sensate resonance
with an apparent laziness
while the seen-world rests,

the sun fills a crisp breeze and
windsound in leaves
merges with the airs of birdsong.
Birdsong
is used loosely here.

For it's chattering mockingbirds,
scream of hawk, rusty
hinges of chickadees or phoebes.
Crows caw too.
  All this somehow holds together
the field of song that extends
more pleasurably into the towhee’s
“drink-your-tea” and some

melodious chain of notes
that’s wren-like. Probably the song
sparrow plays, too,
and the virtuosity of the wood

thrush resonates with its most
musical quality. But the compelling
thing is the fullness, the lush
variety of all sound

that makes this time and space
so breath-takingly
so saturatingingly
summer-full.

 

 

Many of the music-makers

perch on the dead tree branches

sticking out from the mass

of smothering vines around the door

of the ramshackle out-building

that the old-timer Bill said

used to house the fox hounds
 

 

What is it about a structure almost falling apart

that’s so magnetic?

 

 

From the first time

Joyce and the shack

stood in the same field,

there’s been some

redemptive force

aligning them.

 

 



It’s taking me much longer

to gain awareness of it.

I’ve been more like the inspector

of buildings who deigned it

scarce worth a glance, no more

than three cents to condemn it--


“Not worth saving.”

 

 

 

Later my daughter

with her artist’s

eye demanded

the composition

be kept safe.

She seems drawn

to the play

of shadings

and muted tones.

 

So I’ll have to arrest

my limited living space

and wonder.

 

Maybe their attraction to this

abandoned place comes

from the liminality of vines--

even if they are poison

ivy, invasive Virginia

creeper, and trash grape-

vines--that venture in

through the walls and roof.

 

 

 

 

we'll leave that old “dead”

tree alone and listen close

in the different lights.


This wasted space may be

singing too—
the way

the most important words


often go unsaid.

Even if they are

finally found


and spoken, how long

may they hang about

waiting to be heard—

 

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Last Updated: March 5, 2006

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