Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Milk-Soft Call

Usually, when I'm engaged in conversation ... or just sitting quietly with my own thoughts ... the words come together, clickety-clack ... well, usually with these pauses which have been a lifelong presence in my speech pattern ... but, otherwise, with virtually no effort at all.

But there are times that it takes some searching.

Like the time that I became acutely aware of a dove's call. Oh, I had heard doves many times before, had savored the softness of their calls. 

But this time, for some reason ... or perhaps no reason at all ... I wanted to find the words to describe what it was really like.

I remember searching ... for the precise words ... the ones which would help me to preserve that particular moment ... words which would help me to "say the unsayable" ... about that distinct sound floating to my ears ... carrying a certain air of mystery about it.

It's so unlike other bird calls, so soothing, so ... well, so milk-soft.

That's it! I decided that's the term I've been looking for, and I walked on into the woods, hoping I would remember to try putting it in a poem someday.

The result:


I pause where
tall swaying trees
verge the meadow,
billowing their
thick green
clouds of leaves,
for a stirring
liquid breeze
has carried to me
the milk-soft call
of a dove,
and I am seized
for that moment
in an amber block
of tranquility.

© 1997
(originally published in Midwest Poetry Review)

Today's word: tranquility

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