World Without Words

The path to springtime’s broken honeycombs
crackles underfoot, swings right,
swings left, lifts off the ground
and winds around the thumbs of rock
that rise above the wildflowers.
In their secret hollow

the bees begin again to build
what winter took away.
The yellow-scented desert

ripples where the wind runs just beneath
its surface. A hawk’s nest
drifts on light, a lizard
climbs the sky and wraps
his tongue around the sun.
When animals strike wonder
in a watching eye

the inner voice is silence.
Speak among mesquite and saguaro
and the Cactus wren will perch upon
a syllable. The Earth appears

to slope away into infinity
while bushes filled with insects
cling by the roots to their lives.
Here is something to communicate
that won’t translate; grammar

doesn’t carry to the height birds fly.
Observe how one starling cannot say
how graceful is the art of flight, yet
thousands gather as a sheet
of Heaven’s laundry in the sky.

David Chorlton is a longtime resident of the desert zone in the Southwest, a landscape he is very attached to. Before Arizona he lived in England and Austria, and he has finally seen publication of a book decades in the making: The Long White Glove from New Meridian Arts. Nothing to do with poetry, rather a true crime story from 1960s Vienna. Read other articles by David.