My Neighbour Has Stopped Singing

My neighbour has stopped singing.
I donít know when I last heard him
humming about on his porch as he
looked for that misplaced wooden chair
they always use when friends arrive,
his music mingling with the yellow hum
of bees and the drifting rain of blossoms
from the evening trees,
or hitting the deep notes as he
came out of his shed and
tossed onto the grass
a garden implement he needed,
the low sounds sinking into the earth like water,
primal tenders of the soil.
He still walks his new grandson up and down,
up and down, on the path
outside our house which is next to his,
talking to him as he would talk
to the lit face of the moon and stars,
sensing the infinity of children
though no longer mouthing their music.
He still plays an argument
with taut precision,
as an angler plays his rod;
itís just the singing thatís stopped.
Thereís a slight sagging
of the throat where the songs
used to be,
small gaps of silence as he
roams around his garden
frowning to himself.
Something has gone out of him,
as he stares intently at those gaps
where there were songs, once.

Lyn Graham Barzilai is a Scot now living on a communal settlement just south of Haifa in Israel, (where she has been since 1975), married with three children. She received her B.A., M.A. and Ph.D degrees from Haifa University, where she teaches English literature. She also teaches creative writing at college. Her work appears online in the Muse Apprentice Guild, and she recently published a book on the poet George Oppen (in the summer of 2006).

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761