Tuesday, April 23, 2019

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
from The Shadow of Sirius