I’m so excited to have a poem of mine included in the “Where I Live Poetry and Photography Series’ by Silver Birch Press. They have published two other poems of mine in other series, and It is always an honor to be included among their marvelous poetry selections. Thank you, Silver Birch Press!
Wherever you live, no matter where you might be, nighttime in summer reveals a very different world of sound. During the day we hear birds, breezes, people, mowers, airplanes, cars or sometimes just bees and hummingbird wings. At night, however, we must totally rely on our hearing to grasp all the different sounds that play out in the night chorus. Here in the south, in North Carolina where I live, summer nights are especially noisy. From frogs and owls to whipoorwills and katydids, there are times when it is absolutely deafening. I wish I had the expertise to identify all the different frogs our small garden pond must be home to. There is one frog that sounds much like what I imagine an alien creature would be like—high-pitched, very shrill and almost dizzying in its persistent song. It’s irritating enough to go inside.
Then there are the “call and response” night singers. I love those most of all. I can sit a long while listening to them. Occasionally I hear an owl, but lately it seems there are fewer around. I remember when we regularly had barred owls nesting in our woodland garden. Catching sight of one was always impressive, but hearing one in the middle of the night was truly haunting. I love to sit outside in our screened-in porch when it is dark. The dog often comes and sits with me listening and keeping me company. She makes no sound herself, knowing that we are the polite and attentive audience to this vast chorus of night.
Here is an audio recording of me reading this poem. Just click on the link below, wait a few seconds, and it will begin.
Sometimes at night I sit outside
In the screened-in porch out back.
In the darkness, the rustling leaves
Of the tall beech trees are blowing.
The katydids call to one another,
An evening of antiphonal refrain.
On nights when a heavy rain falls,
All you can hear are the tireless frogs
Chorusing in the garden pond.
The deep lone bass, the shrill soprano,
This diverse and discordant choir
Seems to be one of rhapsodical joy.
And then there are times when an owl
Soundlessly lands in a nearby tree
And startles me with its resonant call,
Letting me know it’s now on watch.
Two times more it calls, low and deep.
I rise and go, time now for me to sleep.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Northern by birth, I have lived for more than 35 years in North Carolina. Our summer nights are…
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