In the old neighborhood while autumn crept into
the fading simmer of summer, I awaited chirps.
Crickets were soon found among houses
that carried history in their seams, and
behind tree giants that rose above all.
A walk into saturated dark, which can
flash glimpses of life behind beaming windows,
was a puzzle of hide and seek sounds.
I traced their repeat to unseen stages as
evening became a chorale thick with
a divine sense of composition,
that tranquil pulsing like stars.
I stood, eyes closed to capture
a thrill of insect song offered in unison,
their interweaving of meters and tones.
Year after year I followed their chirrups,
seeking the most distant, jaywalking
toward sentinel bushes lining lawns,
cocking my ear in alleys with underbrush.
Holding my breath.
They have come again as leaves are crumpling,
berry-reddening and tarnishing to brassy hues.
But here on the small mountain it is a different event,
the gathering and listening easy–not better or worse.
Now I need go nowhere, just slip out my balcony door.
Steep land below cradles them in ivy,
pine needles, grasses, wind sheared branches.
They begin at once, for we who have
long waited and those who have not.
With invisible constancy, crickets never forget,
do not disappoint.
And later, in the dense, torn nights in my bed,
their universal call and response carries on,
as if an angelic force behind the scenes
holds fast to everything, each voice kept true.
And keeps me in place, rooted in calm.
I feel that humming in heart and bones;
it removes the world from my rest,
and me from my troubles.
Below is my reading of the poem, if you wish to hear it shared aloud.