Is it true that nothing reveals more
about a person's secret heart
than the adult memory of a favorite
childhood fairy tale?
I never understood all the fuss
about princesses poisoned
or rescued from dragons.
Hansel and Gretel seemed like a recitation
of the sorrowful evening news
a serial killer, the ovens, absent parents
a famine, crumbs...
Instead of magic beanstalks and man-eating giants
or wolves disguised as gentle grandmas
I chose the tale of a bird with a voice that could soothe
the melancholic spirit of an emperor
helpless despite his wealth and power.
Of all tales, only The Nightingale felt
like a story I knew before I was born
about Orpheus calming wild beasts with his lyre
King David's harp easing Saul's despair
Saint Francis with his curious flocks of birds
singing back and forth in a language of wishing
that even the wolf understood.
When songs were alive
they needed no mouths
to send them flying.
their own wings.
how to leap.
The lost tribe
rose without effort
seeking its own form
Variations on a Theme
cool, dark, mysterious
treetops at toe level
a reverent gardener bows down to meet
for ripe fruit