||Issue Date: 1 / 2013
Excerpts from Touchstones
Photo courtesy Graham Causer,
Wombourne, United Kingdom (C.C.
via Wikimedia Commons)
Click image to enlarge.
The Silence of the Animals
If animals could only talk
We could share our thoughts with them
Discuss the hills and their greenery
Morning sunlight above the streams.
We could sing together
On hills and mountains
And the rivers that run between them
We would talk about eclipses
The shadow of the moon.
But they are condemned to silence
Speaking only with their eyes
The soft music of hands and paws.
Audubon in Paris
He carries a hundred pounds of feathers
Into this plumed city of carriages,
The one-eyed soldier, the pea-brained king.
The marquis stutters over the colors,
Wild turkeys gobble him up
"Ah the American forests" he says,
not knowing how darkness falls on the Ohio
or how the new deer move through the birched woods
and owls wing their way through the moors.
"Beau, beau, beau" trills the powdered marquis.
He will not buy, thinks Audubon, as he travels
The Shenandoah down the Palais Royal
The Missouri up the Tuilleries.
The mysterious train whistles along
Mice whimpering lines disappear
Into Bergman-silent terminals
Whips past frantic red signals at crossings
Moaning near service stations, hotels
Where visitors stay glued to their chairs
Reading a morning's paper
The wine colored hills favor peace.
A country wedding glows white with horses
A groom goes smiling to his happy fate
A boy sits on his wagon, eyes glowing
Joyous to see the train passing and passing
The track trembling its high expectations.
Stern, a poet and writer on the arts, has written more than 50
articles on various aspects of the arts for The World & I Online
since 2004. His new book is Touchstones.