52 SONGS

...the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life...

Thursday, July 16, 2015

James Tate, 1943 - 2015


Ancient Story


      At midnight I went outside to look at the
full moon. Bats were feasting on mosquitos.
Out in the field a coyote was howling. The field
was bathed in yellow light, and I could
see him, his head thrown back, like a passionate
tenor in an eerie opera. I wanted to join him, but
my howling was rusty. I walked slowly and quietly
in his direction. Several times bats swooped within
an inch of my face. My blood was rushing. The coyote
saw me and went on singing. I froze in my
tracks. It was beautiful. His song told some
ancient tale of grief and sorrow. I started to
whimper. And that turned into squealing. Then I
was bawling and weeping. Kind of blubbering, with
some yips and yelps thrown in. My head thrown back,
I began to wail. And I couldn’t stop wailing, it
felt so good. I had wakened the whole neighborhood,
and now they, too, were wailing.

[from]

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