A sound like new leaves,
Softness, lightness, slight vibration
In the silent gray that makes you question:
“Did I hear right?”
I stepped out of the cabin after the lightning,
After the rain,
And wondered why the trickling, dripping of the beads from branches,
The seeping into soil sounded sweet, and high
Like whispered music.
The air breathed, and breathed.
Deepening the woods in time with greening,
Filling the clear, bare twigs,
The howls and cracks of winter’s trees
Into a forest,
Into a mystery.
When Rachel Carson feared a silent spring
She thought of absent birds,
But even their most transcendent song—
That of the hermit thrush, for instance—
Is not incompatible with winter.
It has the sharpness of an icicle
That pierces, then melts
Disappearing its crime.
The peepers’ song kisses,
Like fuzz on a newborn,
Murmur of the stream resting from its ice purge,
Purple blush of newly-lingering twilight.
When my grandmother was a girl, she told me,
The first night she heard the peepers sing,
She would walk with her friends to the corner store
For the spring’s first ice cream.
My grandmother died last year;
Amphibians across the earth are dying—90 species silenced.
One of these deaths is what we have called natural,
Meaning part of the long-trusted revolution
That sees winter suppress summer
Only for spring to rise…
The other’s a more final kind of death.
It would kill spring.