15 July 2007

Maurice Manning

[from Maurice Manning's Bucolics, 2007]


did you teach the woodpecker how
to knock its head against the wood
of hollow trees did you say this
is how you do it Boss then knock
your own head so hard into
the tree it made a rattle clap
I'm thinking nine is the number of times
the bird must knock the tree to make
it rattle right does that sound right
to you is nine the number Boss
to make a rattle clap it sounds
all right to me the number sounds
just right inside the rattle Boss
did you teach birds to count did you
teach me to count what counts beyond
the numbers up above them Boss
are you a number or a sound
or something else I can't learn how
to think about you birdbrain Boss
you rattle me you knock me down


1 comment:

  1. i just ran across bucolics at the local public library. read it out loud. love it. 'i'd like to know why everything is stuck in the middle of something else'. not a word in these a fifth-grader wouldn't know. not an idea. deep, deep simplicity. beautiful stuff. natural, observant, winsome, wise, the speaker sings w. such clarity it's startling.