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He Who Is Especially Fond of Birds

Look at the still air, its bluest trembling.
This is distance and what distance may embrace.

In a place of solitude, an observant man
can hear a busy silence.

His Arcadian hands lift the window
onto a flannel sky, an edging of shaggy pines

whose green wavering suggests silver.
He looks below the comb of the trees

and smiles at the tiny ibis—scorchingly white—
that moves forward so slowly, there is no sound.

Above in waning light, black-tipped terns
smudge the sky. A high kestrel eddies on the wind

and, like this, the last hours go.
By the window, he listens for the unseen aviaries

that continue to warble and skirl
through the dusk. What else is needed?

He silently chants along: sand crane, kingfisher, heron.
Even their given names improve the world.

For now, he loves to view the muscular clouds
at midnight, their swift and pale blueness.

His house luffs into a stirring wind that dresses
the hill of snowbells and the colour of that waving.

High above a thresh of foxtail grass, the newest moon
is a rind of platinum light. What is distance, then,

but solitude shared and the touch of hope? The valley
recedes to dark velvet, blunt breathing, a knap of stars.

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