From My Window This Nest of Birds

I began writing poetry when I was about 12 years old.

Instinctively, from the beginning, I consciously tried to shape the flow of my words to match a sound I heard within, a vibration. I did not know what that inner sound was until years later when I visited a Japanese Garden. I hit the big bronze bell hanging there with the wooden mallet provided. When I heard the sound, I knew I had found the location of that inner vibration. 

When I read my poetry aloud, people often remark that they love to hear my voice because it is like a lullaby or relaxing bath. I once spoke into an oscilloscope and saw that my voice forms a sine wave. A sine wave is symmetrical in a “smooth periodic oscillation,” a graph of the sine function (it occurs often in pure and applied mathematics, physics, engineering, signal processing, and other fields). It seems that the sine wave also appears in poetry and my voice. I wonder what pattern the Bonsho is tuned to? I wonder, also, whether “concert A” is a sine wave. (“Concert A” is the sound made by the A string on a violin if it is correctly tuned. Symphonies tune to concert A before beginning to play.) Do East and West meet there? I do not know but I wonder.

 

From My Window This Nest of Birds

I 

Spring comes slowly, carefully 

leaves reluctant, cautious 

When will  

they accept 

the change in seasons?  

Japanese Willow with 

delicate pink luminescent reach  

stands tall

pauses 

awaits rain

an amendment to the soil  

occupies her inner gaze
 

Cardinal, Robin, White-throated Sparrow

Chickadees, busy beneath the grapevine 

But the ants have scarcely stirred

my words, like these ants

rise fitfully, still asleep

What inner horizon waits to shift

from far to near – or near to far 

in them? In me?

What change waits 

where hope lies dormant

lost between 

anger or forgiveness, burning or renewal

advance or retreat?

Seed turns toward blossom.  

Winter frost

approaches spring release. 

Hope vanishes into the Plane of the Possible 

where all things wait

all leaves sleep 

where buds open with courage once again 

but not until morning 

not until the world turns  evolves one more time

II

When I was a child 

I knew sound could  

heal everything broken

anything wounded 

I knew to listen 

bend my words

toward inner sound, a

faint Bonsho 

waited

for me to come, to strike, make it ring, sing. . .  

I heard the echo of the Bosho’s heart 

among other hills

remembered willows

an open voiced great bronze bell 

that inner music, lost

waiting to return to mind

when it was time  

the sound of Perfect Unity

Love wandered toward

silence

leaving mind behind

sought cathedral bells

of long ago, a singing   

inside an open heart

bells meant to heal  

mend the pathway of intention 

by intention

Somewhere 

yellow daffodils  

emerged from winter snow 

calling to Willow 

singing to that bell in gardens  

waiting within each of us  

echoing our very distant sleep

“All shall be well again, I know” 

gathering words together 

as the known world wakes

transforms tenor, tone, timbre,  

melody shifts

near moves outward

finds the edge of wonder

returns. Again.  

And again. Infinite solitude  

waits

within Willow

comes home

into the throat of Sparrow

dreams 

within our sleep 

as ants

in chilled, unripe soil 

when soil warms with springtime

Willow stirs. . .  

a nest of tiny birds appears

in a small wooden box 

the door not much bigger

around than my thumb 

Notes:

Tenor: the main sense of something; the general meaning; prevailing character; Tenere:, middle English (from Latin, French), “to hold”; the voice given the melody, to hold the melody;  

Timbre: the quality of a musical pitch distinct from pitch and intensity;  Tone: a musical or vocal sound with reference to its pitch, quality and strength;  

Plane: in mathematics a plane is a flat, two-dimensional surface that extends infinitely far.  

Point: Zero: dimensions represented by a dot; a hole an object, a topological structure that prevents the object from being continuously shrunk to a point.  

Emily Dickinson: “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul – and sings the words without the words – and never stops at all.” And, attributed both to Hildegard von Bingen, Benedictine, b1098-d1179 and Julian of Norwich, Anchorite, b1342-d1417: “All shall be well again I know” and “All shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well” 

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