The sound of the wind was suddenly muted and far away.
The air was cooler, and from somewhere I could not see
among the trees I was startled to hear the voice of a thrush singing…
He hears me
in that hour of the day
when others cannot
and understands a bird
has many songs — like a man
has many thoughts.
My voice mingles
with the itch of dry grass, mist
unfurling from sea cliffs
barnacled with moss
and the aroma of ripe
mangoes. And sometimes in this grove,
it hushes the wind — or shatters light
into glints of omniscience Long
before he came — when plovers scraped the sky
with their spring flight, I had dreamt
of his coming. Someone to restore
the soil, to watch fields (skirted in gold )
dance in the distance
and dance with them in beautiful words.
These days, I sing
longer and sweeter, beckoning him to stay — and still
keep me as his muse, his forest shadow.
Note — American poet, W. S. Merwin died in March of this year and spent his last days in Hawaii working to save and restore the landscape of an old sugar plantation. Much of its soil and other features had eroded through time and had been harmed by commercial farming. He was dedicated to restoring this place through hands on experience with the terrain and through his writing. He was also enthralled with the bird species’ of this area including a bird with many diverse songs called The Omao or Hawaiian Nightingale. He believed many of nature’s species had the power to communicate on a high level with each other and even with humans if they had the patience, open-mindedness and willingness to listen