Stanley Moss

Yes, you can say about me:

I loved grand opera, the blues, scat,

oratorios, gospel, hymns, standards.

I wrote American English.

One afternoon, when I could have gone

to a matinee, I went to the Bronx zoo

to hear a monkey sing a lullaby to a baby monkey.

Out of season and in season, I went to ponds

to hear frogs croak. I walked, hiked, ran

to listen to bees in hives and wild flowers.

Birds migrated in and out of my dreams.

Seagulls, albatrosses and swans felt safe,

ate from my hand in winter.

I cherished the sounds of fish breaking water.

I understood without translation

the gossip of house mice talking to sewer rats.

I eavesdropped on sugar maples

talking to bigleaf maples,

I heard granny smith apple trees soundless

winking at red delicious apple trees.

I understood what different brooks, streams, rivers

had to say to lakes and oceans, the silence and fears of

mussels and clams when they opened their mouths.

I saved a Monarch butterfly struggling

to get out of a spider’s web

so it could fly to Mexico.

I wept when we anchored at Plymouth harbor,

the first time I heard English English.

— Stanley Moss

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Author: The Best American Poetry