Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Robert Morgan’

Everything I love changes me, and if I can be true to love I will welcome the changes.

Hear the veery in the deep dapple-dark forest.  Hear the descending double-voiced yearning so airy and earthy, old when these broad poplars were jade-and-honey flowers in their mother’s hair, old when these smooth mossed stones had just cracked from their father’s face.  Sit in the silence of light retreating and perhaps the spirit-bird will join you, a momentary apparition of brown leaf shadow and speckled dusk.  With bright eyes it will accept you, hop once, fly, and in the next moment you will hear again, ancient and aching, Audubon’s flute.

.     .     .     .     .

Creekside 01 crop_01

Audubon’s Flute

Audubon in the summer woods
by the afternoon river sips
his flute, his fingers swimming on
the silver as silver notes pour

by the afternoon river, sips
and fills the mosquito-note air
with silver as silver notes pour
two hundred miles from any wall.

And fills the mosquito-note air
as deer and herons pause, listen,
two hundred miles from any wall,
and sunset plays the stops of river.

As deer and herons pause, listen,
the silver pipe sings on his tongue
and sunset plays the stops of river,
his breath modeling a melody

the silver pipe sings on his tongue,
coloring the trees and canebrakes,
his breath modeling a melody
over calamus and brush country,

coloring the trees and canebrakes
to the horizon and beyond,
over calamus and brush country
where the whitest moon is rising

to the horizon and beyond
his flute, his fingers swimming on
where the whitest moon is rising.
Audubon in the summer woods.

Robert Morgan.

[Collected in Word and Witness: 100 Years of North Carolina Poetry, Sally Buckner, editor.  Carolina Academic Press, 1999.]

.     .     .     .    .

IMG_2510

Last Saturday I walked beside the creek and up the mountain with my sister while each veery called to the next that we were on our way.  Today Linda and I drive to Durham to meet my teacher, the first time in over thirty years, and to gather with his students gathering from fifty states.  Already we’ve been cataloguing the changes.  What do I love now that I didn’t love then?  How have I been true to the loves that entered me years ago?  Before the noisy afternoon, I take a moment to listen.  And when my bones are old as stones, trees, moss, how will my voice be recalled?

.     .     .     .    .

IMG_2443

Robert Morgan was born in Hendersonville, North Carolina and grew up on the family farm in the Green River valley of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  He is currently the Kappa Alpha Professor of English at Cornell but has returned to North Carolina many times as visiting professor and writer to Davidson, Duke, Appalachian State, and East Carolina.

The Veery (Catharus fuscescens) is a small thrush of deep moist woods, chestnut brown with a speckled breast.  All thrushsong is melodic and haunting, but to me the veery is most magical.  On a quiet afternoon you clearly hear him singing harmony with himself, the doubled notes possible only with an avian syrinx (unlike my limited tenor’s larynx).

.     .     .     .     .

IMG_6944

Read Full Post »