Are they trying to be songs,
those small urges nudging the heart
toward the throat, wanting to live on air?
Very like songs they are,
fragments of song, ideas for a song
swimming upstream to a belonging
with mute swans on the clear
mirror of a mountain lake
gliding toward the inevitable.
But what if they’re off-key?
Sung wrong? What indeed.
Try to remember what
someone looking for the lost chord
midway up a mountain in Tibet
said, and which I pass along:
a bird does not sing
because it has an answer;
it sings because it has a song.