Alan: Our phoebe’s a small but ebullient summer companion, whose explosive song Peterson calls “well-enunciated.” That’s like saying a drill sergeant’s voice is “well-modulated”: while not untrue, it fails to grok the fullness.
You have betrayed me, Phoebe,
slipping from the pages of my books
like a whisper, a young girl
running barefoot in summer dew,
beautiful and painful as first love.
For starters, you’re a guy.
You sneeze your name, over and over,
from a nearby branch –
“Look at me! Look at me!” – full of yourself.
Testosterone with feathers.
I know your type, June party-crasher,
hopping about, drawing attention,
snacking on the wing,
stumbling against the furniture,
wearing a silly grin and a lampshade.
But Phoebe! Phoebe! I forgive you.
You are otherwise sober, industrious, neighborly,
always on hand to give advice,
keep an eye on things, look me straight on,
ward off time’s passing and despond.
Nancy: Before weather, time and insects, new leaves like green candles...
the water was green
and the young corn
and the light under the ferns
outside the window
June lights the birch
a green flame
the old woman watches
now the ash catches
child, child, look at you
green the old woman remembers
the branch where she sat
the summergreen trees
water, arrowhead leaves