Tell Me A Story

I’ve been reading in a book of poetry by Robert Penn Warren which I inherited from my mother. In it is a series of poems inspired by the life of James Audubon who, I learned in the intro, was born Jean Jacques Audubon, of his father’s mistress from his travels in Santo Domingo, though he adhered to the story that the woman who raised him in France also birthed him. The last poem in the series is ‘Tell Me a Story”:

Long ago, in Kentucky, I, a boy, stood
By a dirt road, in first dark, and heard
The great geese hoot northward.

I could not see them, there being no moon
And the stars sparse. I heard them.

I did not know what was happening in my heart.

It was the season before the elderberry blooms,
Therefore they were going north.

The sound was passing northward.

Tell me a story.

In this century, and moment, of mania,
Tell me a story.

Make it a story of great distances, and starlight.

The name of the story will be Time,
But you must not pronounce its name.

Tell me a story of deep delight.

(by Robert Penn Warren, 1923-1985, from Audubon: A Vision)

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