Love for a Song

Love is barter—bits of affection traded for pieces of adoration.

It is desire doled out on the whippoorwill’s summer wanting. It
is our craving for the meadowlark’s ringing song—our longing
for spring’s greening from our sun-starved spirits down to our
bare-toed roots. We seek the winding path and wander until
we find the sweet spots—blackwater cypress swamp, tallgrass
prairie sweep—the place where moonlight glancing off of tide-
slicked stones makes us weep.

We want the wild soul and a shadow-dwelling wood thrush
heaps it on us in self-harmonizing sonata—We revel in wild-
flower bloom—marvel in the migratory sojourns of birds
dodging falling stars. Sink yourself deep in the dizzying dance
of pollen-drunk bees. Find hope in the re-leaved canopies of
the tallest trees. Wind and water—storm and surf—they can
move us to other ends. Therein is the turn on. It’s the honey
sweet seduction. Nature asks only that we notice—a sunrise
here—a sunset there. The surge, that overwhelming inex-
plicable thing in a swallow’s joyous flight or the dawning of
new light that melds heart and head into sensual soul in that
moment of truly seeing—that is love.

“Love for a Song” from Sparrow Envy: Field Guide to Birds and Lesser Beasts by Drew Lanham. Copyright © 2021 by Drew Lanham. Used with the permission of Hub City Press.

This poem was originally read in the On Being episodeI Worship Every Bird that I See.’