There’s more than one way to look at it:
(These little messages written on the Downtown Charlottesville Community Chalkboard).
… to speak the song the cicadas are singing —
that murmur and hum filling the trees.
But their song is wholly their own,
and no matter what words I use,
mine would only be a poor copy —
and why bother to copy such a thing,
when anyone can go out on a summer night
and sit spellbound to the sound
of the original?
But oh, God — I beseech you —
we have stopped hearing it.
A thousand nights these voices sing for us,
their words worn-out white noise,
the meaning lost like a long-ago first language,
so that in the song we hear no language at all.
And, oh, God, if you might give me the words,
perhaps I might shake us out of deafness,
so we might stand stunned under the canopy:
silent to it. Listening.
Oh, teach me to sing it:
a hundred thousand voices
whirling wild in the trees,
filling the green air
with buzzing vibrato,
crying out over and over:
Love me, Love me —
the summer is short,
this life is so brief …
oh, love me while you can —
You! Yes, you ––
while my body can still sing,
still love, and sunlight still
spangles the branches …
Which I guess is the same song
we’re all singing,
I’ve built my life around words: planted them like seed, panned for them like gold. I’ve gone out into green valleys and collected words like rainwater, storing them up for seasons of drought.
This is what my kind of people do.
There are days when words feel too small for me — a poor, mealy-mouthed language too paltry to say what must be said. On those days I dance. I paint. I reach for my camera.
And lately, I’ve found myself speaking wordless prayers.
So today, I’m praying this:
I want this, and this, and this:
I go out into the green world and I ask for what I see — for my soul and for yours.
For the parts of us too wide and deep for talking.
I sit still, and I say nothing. ❤