Little Lovers

Two sparrows built their nest in my thoughts last spring.
Little lovers, I asked, have you no place to rest,
has the forest become so desolate and bare
that you cannot find a stout oak for your nest?

“The winter was long,” they chirped, as they jumped
and flew among my thoughts, “and the trees
are dressed in black this year, and your thoughts are strong
and pliant and filled with strange memories.

Look how easily a strand of dried grass
and a little mud sits in the branches in your mind.”
A army passed through our country last fall.
Is it not terrible? Do you not hate mankind?

Do you not blame those who burned the trees
and deprived you and all the forest birds of spring?
Do you not want to hurt the men who wrecked your home?
How can you be happy? How can you still sing?

“Blame? We cannot blame. We will build our nest among
the branches of your thoughts. What is wrong with that?
Among your ideas there are two suns and a moon
that is always full. What is terrible in that?

We sing because we have each other
and really it is our nature to be happy.
We do not know hate. Is it like the cat?
Does it jump and kill? Can it climb trees?”

It cannot climb trees, but it does kill,
and it is the cause of many terrible crimes.
Its roots are deep and hard to dig out; I know
because I have cut it from my thoughts many times.

Look, the stones at the bottom of my mind are hard.
and far down. Seeing them now makes my heart ache.
If one of your eggs were to fall
I cannot imagine that it would not break.

“Why are you worried? Why should an egg fall?
Our nest will be plenty strong and very high.
Leave us your best thoughts and come back in a month,
and we will be teaching our fledglings to fly.”

So I left my thoughts and wandered up
a secluded road far from man’s affairs.
That summer I lived in an abandoned barn
with a black he-goat and a speckled mare.

I fed them as if they were human
and learned to live life without thinking.
We understood each other perfectly
and spent our days without once complaining.

And when I returned to collect my thoughts and watch
the little lovers teach their fledglings to fly,
the nest was empty and the sparrows were gone.
By then it was already far into July.