Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Sparrows Come Free

The future was already in the past.
The leaves were there in the seeds--
Brittle brown, black serration,
Wrinkled, desiccated,
Waiting for the clemencies of time,
And green thumbs, weather, earth, water.
In the mind's eye were visions of things,
The possibilities of lushness,
Of tangerine ripeness and yellow pungency,
The anticipation of the sigh of summer
Among the wayward branches,
Of leaves snuggling in pouring rain,
The nocturne of frogs rising from the ponds.
When you dug a hole in the ground
To bury the unpromising saplings,
When in the months that followed
You uprooted the irrelevant weeds,
Prayed for rain and sunlight to some god
Of dubious munificence,
Was it ever on the periphery of the heart's dream
That some years into your middle age
The seeds would have such a crown of abundance
For the birds to have made their airy sanctuary?
Now the garden is ablaze with their raucous summons.
And sometimes interfused with their ceaseless aubade,
As the saffron dawn recedes relentlessly
Toward common brightness,
The blue echoes of a god-like voice:
The sparrows come free,
Come free,
Come free.

by Anthony L. Tan

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