Maybe They’re Shy
Now the nightbirds will be singing
of the way we love each other.
Why should they sing about flowers
when they’ve seen us in the garden?
Maybe they’re shy. They can’t look at the face,
so they describe feet.
If they keep dividing love into pieces,
they’ll disappear altogether. We must be gentle
and explain it to them.
Think of a mountain so huge the Caucasus Range
is a tiny speck. Normal mountains
run toward her when she calls.
They listen in their cave-ears and echo back.
They turn upsidedown when they get close,
they’re so excited.
No more words. In the name of this place we
drink in with our breathing, stay quiet like a flower.
So the nightbirds will start singing.
Version by Coleman Barks
Threshold Books, 1984