Thoreau

The Secret Life of...

by Amy Belding Brown

He talks with Indians and slaves,
apprehends the fellowship of love and hate,
studies lichen on his knees,
walks naked in the river on green afternoons,
tracks the errant flight of seeds,
makes gifts of gardens and harvests unsowed fields,
measures truth by radiance,
plays his lonely flute at night beside the pond,
calls fish into his eager hands,
holds conversations with the earth so long
he hears the voice of stones.
He calibrates the awful weight of words,
surveys the wearied land
with a brother's firm devotion,
hunts the bluebird's flight
through pond-misted and pine-needled air,
falls in love with women
and with men whose beauty lies
close-couched within their words,
and whose long-sequestered hearts
never quite recognize his own.
Sometimes he is so sick with joy
he cannot bear the company of men
and melts into the silence
of the trees, where leaves fall around him
in bright benediction
and there he knows one thing alone is true --
that all of life is music
and our only obligation is to sing.

August 19, 2000

Copyright © Amy Belding Brown