5. Amen of the Angels, the Saints, and the Songs of Birds


Waking up in Bedford, eyes still closed,
The lawn outside the bed unfolds.

Crystal clear and dripping with the night,
A bird call wobbles through the white,

The blank page of the daylight’s prose
Blooming slowly from a crow’s

One cry, the empty spirals
Of the sound silhouetting miles

Of sky and land, the valley wall
And weeds: a random call

That brings along as much as
Possible of what it touches,

Passing fields and leaves to head
Unerring for the morning bed

Where the secret nature of the wheat
The tiny echo turns concrete,

The smell of seeds made flesh, as
If the ear could see the grass

By waiting for the forest sound
And subtle echo of the ground,

Or hear the low clouds in the sky
From a raven’s dampened cry,

Nature sounded with the tonics
Of the psyche’s electronics,

Views that might be puzzled at
By the radar of a bat,

Forests where a falling tree
Is certified by ESP,

A day invented from a breeze,
From inklings bounced off leaves—

A world enflamed without a word
By the routine of a bird.


What is real about the night,
About the lines of surf that scud
In from the sky, or the clouds that flood
Into the palms, is the line of sight,

The constant wash of land and spray
Which merges ripples of the risen
Moon with the whirlpools of the ocean,
Impossible in floodlit day

That buries rustling human fronds
In the island’s broken sway,
Circles of the galaxy’s great ponds
Lost in jungle’s macramé,

Burning eyes behind the swirls
That light our planet’s blinded worlds.