Voice Lessons – a poem by Rev. Dr. Carrie Knowles

Voice Lessons


Wild Canada geese are walking about on my roof

and flapping mightily to get airborne, all the while

filling the morning sky with their clamor.  They just can’t say enough

about Spring, or maybe it’s a cry for love, for love, for love!

their necks stretched and throbbing in pursuit of each other

so long as there’s light to fly by.


At dark, the geese sleep—and the tree toads wake up and call

and sing in unison to the April moon, to the falling petals of the cherry trees,

to the leafing-out of the poplars, to each other—

and we shall never understand the lyrics that they chant

over and over until the dawn paints the mustard yellow

up and down the hills and leaves the creek beds in shadow.


At times it’s hard to bear this noisy unrelenting exultation at daybreak

rending the last thin web of my dreamscapes of memory and desire.

It’s hard to let in the bewildering hum and throb of this raucous

celebration of moonrise out of mouths so small, tongues so wise,

as they strum on the hidden heart-strings that bind the cosmos.

Yet let’s leave the window open.  Who knows?

So long as there’s light to fly by

I, too, may learn to sing.


Carrie Knowles, April, 2014


Read in person at the May 4, 2014 Interfaith Council Concert “Service and Song” at Congregation B’nai Tikvah, in Walnut Creek, CA.