One odd moment came one of the times I was in the back yard today. I was sitting in a chair wondering if I'd be able to muster the strength to get back indoors before heat stroke set in, when I heard an unfamiliar bird call. It was a fairly deep voice, calling in four parts, two short, one long, one short. As I listened it seemed that words were taking shape within the call. After several hearings, it seemed that the bird was saying in muffled tones "try to save me, try to save me." I fancied a human trapped in the bird's body, having only the bird's song with which to call for help. But what human, free at last to fly, would wish to escape the bird's body?
I'm going to post a poem I'm sure I've posted before— quite likely more than once— but it has been summoned to my mind by the sultry weather, and by my elegiac mood, to which it seems quite appropriate.
The Empty Hills
by Yvor Winters
The grandeur of deep afternoons,
The pomp of haze on marble hills,
Where every white-walled villa swoons
Through violence that heat fulfills,
Pass tirelessly and more alone
Than kings that time has laid aside.
Safe on their massive sea of stone
The empty tufted gardens ride.
Here is no music, where the air
Drives slowly through the airy leaves.
Meaning is aimless motion where
The sinking humming bird conceives.
No book nor picture has inlaid
This life with darkened gold, but here
Men passionless and dumb invade
A quiet that entrances fear.