Sunday, April 22, 2012

Yes, This

The red maple trees are in bloom. 
The towhees are back, right on schedule. This morning I stood still in the early morning quiet, full bird feeder in my hand, and watched a towhee in the tree hop and adjust himself. I waited and watched and hoped he would--yes--the joy and rightness of being alive in Spring bubbled over and out of him for both of us. His song was tentative at first--just the last two notes, your tea!, as if he were trying it on for size. Two, three times, then he flew away deeper into the scrubby. Before too long he was shouting out his full song, Drink your tea! And, not having the towhee's gift of song, all I could do was spin around, arms outstretched, happy with thankfulness.

A List of Praises
by Anne Porter

Give praise with psalms that tell the trees to sing,
Give praise with Gospel choirs in storefront churches,
Mad with the joy of the Sabbath,
Give praise with the babble of infants, who wake with the sun,
Give praise with children chanting their skip-rope rhymes,
A poetry not in books, a vagrant mischievous poetry
living wild on the Streets through generations of children.

Give praise with the sound of the milk-train far away
With its mutter of wheels and long-drawn-out sweet whistle
As it speeds through the fields of sleep at three in the morning,
Give praise with the immense and peaceful sigh
Of the wind in the pinewoods,
At night give praise with starry silences.

Give praise with the skirling of seagulls
And the rattle and flap of sails
And gongs of buoys rocked by the sea-swell
Out in the shipping-lanes beyond the harbor.
Give praise with the humpback whales,
Huge in the ocean they sing to one another.

Give praise with the rasp and sizzle of crickets, katydids and cicadas,
Give praise with hum of bees,
Give praise with the little peepers who live near water.
When they fill the marsh with a shimmer of bell-like cries
We know that the winter is over.

Give praise with mockingbirds, day's nightingales.
Hour by hour they sing in the crepe myrtle
And glossy tulip trees
On quiet side streets in southern towns.

Give praise with the rippling speech
Of the eider-duck and her ducklings
As they paddle their way downstream
In the red-gold morning
On Restiguche, their cold river,
Salmon river,
Wilderness river.

Give praise with the whitethroat sparrow.
Far, far from the cities,
Far even from the towns,
With piercing innocence
He sings in the spruce-tree tops,
Always four notes
And four notes only.

Give praise with water,
With storms of rain and thunder
And the small rains that sparkle as they dry,
And the faint floating ocean roar
That fills the seaside villages,
And the clear brooks that travel down the mountains

And with this poem, a leaf on the vast flood,
And with the angels in that other country.

Don't forget, Poem in Your Pocket day is coming up on Thursday. And I think I'll be ready with a give-away by then, too.


iamrushmore said...

Ok - this bird freak is jealous. I've never seen a towhee. I only live an hour away from you, and my backyard is a bird oasis. why no towhees? my spring gift was the return of the flickers yesterday. (which also means the return of the ANTS that they love to eat, which means I will be waging my annual ants-in-the-bathrooms battle any day now) (maybe I should convince a flicker to move in with us for the summer)

Jill said...

I really, really like this one. Praise I get.

Bells said...

what a happy, praise filled morning. Beautiful. Lucky you.

Donna Lee said...

I had one of those moments Saturday (the NICE day of the weekend). I just lay in bed listening to the birds greet each other and smelled the fresh air coming in the open window. It was close to perfect (until I had to get up to pee!) I thought how lucky I was and how glad that I could appreciate the beauty of the moment.