We used to sing more

We used to sing more-
Mothers murmured refrains to babes,
children danced in the forest, sticks waving,
all master conductors, singing out
from under bobbing hemlock branches.

During world wars,
the infantry would shout out bawdy tunes
full of drink and women,
their boots caked with mud and blood,
but still they sang.

People would sing to their lovers,
sometimes instruments took the place of voice,
pianos, guitars, flutes
the cello beneath Yo Yo’s fingers,
they all sing in urging, crying voices.

The birds still sing,
some say they have small brains
and know no better,
but birds just keep it simple, and they know-
love brings nests and more spring.

Forever, we used to sing to our young,
our voices silly, off kilter,
ditties that made no sense,
but nothing needed explaining,
for they were our songs,
and our children heard our voices.
Yes, we used to sing,
we sang for our broken world
and all it means to us,
the different camps we hang our hats in-
our scholars, our leaders, our spokespeople, our dissenters,
our churches, our oceans, our whales, our athletes,
our painters, our poets and writers, our musicians,
all our healers,
our sun that gifts us with all colors,
our moon that holds us fast, our veined rivers,
our raised fists, our hands clasped to heart.

Even if the sound comes with
sad places, gruff voices, sore throats-
moaning corners– or joy
yes joy, is allowed too.

We need to sing again.
Ursula McCabe March 2020



Folds of a March Day

Still mostly leafless,
cottonwood crowns stand out
against a flawless blue sky.

Walking out to the lake
I don’t see many birds,
till winged arrows start to whiz by.

They’re back from
wherever they go-
violet-green swallows
flying figure eights,
wings the color of malachite
mouths agape for bugs.

A woman ambles by and together
we watch the swallows-
both of us restored in the folds of
a cold March day.

Ursula McCabe March 12, 2020



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