He was feeling old, worn down, and nearly empty.
After the hooked fish has exhausted its energy,
it will surrender meekly to the waiting net.
He wanted to use his last few remaining words
to fashion a kind of talking skin drum.
It would invoke the magic of the old trout language,
become an arching rainbow, amaze the tribes of wildings
who wander down to the riverbank to quench their thirst.
It will make that ecstatic sound of cool clear rushing water,
make the slippery river stones stand up at impossible angles,
coax the big sky heaven to mate with the shy earth heaven.
There will be progeny, they will wield the secret magic.
They’ll joyfully raise their talking skin drums high together,
make the speckled trout go leaping down the laughing stream
in perfect syncopation with those thrilling rainbow sounds.
Singing birds will arrive, some that had not been seen before.
They will hear the skin drum, they will recognize its language.
Great flocks of them will crowd the sky, performing astounding
feats of synchronized flying in spectacular murmurations.
The trees will not hold back. They’ll lift their arboreal skirts
of tangled roots and march towards the lit horizon, leaving
wide swaths of fresh green forests all along the way as they
make their triumphant journey from the mountains to the sea.
These talking skin drums will awaken the old sleeping ones,
the ancient gods who’d had enough of humans and burrowed
deep into the ground, awaiting the return of skin drum sounds.
Now they’ll hear that language, that old beguiling music again.
They’ll passionately embrace each other, make exquisite love.
There will be progeny who’ll wield the potent new sound magic
with remarkable confidence, dexterity, and skill.
Whatever was empty, they will fill up; whatever was full,
they will empty. The days will last longer, the sweet nights too.
Time will spontaneously coincide with awareness, experience
with transparency. The knots of discontent will be undone.
Men will write poems in their dreams at night, but this time,
they will not forget them when they awaken in the morning.
Unlike the men, the women will need no goal or destination
to keep them oriented. They will be the goal, the destination.
Children will hear the talking skin drums. Instead of hurting
each other with cruel and angry words, they will dance again.
When they finally grow old, worn down, and nearly empty,
they will remember the sound of the skin drum, and trade
their few remaining words just to hear it one last time.