Do you hear them when they call cuck-oo
from the arms of the spruce that bends
in prayer, from the back of the sidewalk yew?
They sit up on the roof-ridge where the old
and they lie there, too, in the dew,
with their beady little eyes as black
and they call to you as you pass them by; yes
they call to you cuck-oo.
But in the darkness their bodies make never a sound
get swallowed down by the swallowing-ground,
and not for all the crosses
dragged to the hill,
nor all the candles that flicker
in the forest still, will they sing cuck-oo to you
though their mouths are no less round
than before—through their lips there comes no sound.
He had asked you about the swans that day, staring
blankly over the pond,
and you didn’t know what to say.
For the old white bird was gone
from the world and the sky was a sagging grey.
Now along the cold comes
with its unfeeling gums, but still
you wander your way.
It was cold that day in just the same way
but you never feel cold very long.
And when the black taxi cab slides through
the yellowing snow
and you stand on the hilltop with nowhere to go
and no one to see and nothing to say
then you stay.
And you yearn for the long lost call of a crow.
But there are only one set of tracks
in the snow,
and the cab turns its circle and it ebbs on its way,
for the driver has nothing to say, oh
no. No, he hasn’t come for you
Now you stumble to bed
with a feeling of dread, and you can’t see His face
in your mind.
And the lame man leans and dead man screams,
and the poor man lies in his bag,
in his bag on the side of the road.
And still you trudge through the withering snow,
past the spruce and the yew through
the dark and cold,
for the cold and the dark are in you.
And you won’t hear the birds that are singing cuck-oo
even though they are singing