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: Against Whistling :

an excerpt by Gerald Stern

How we walked for an hour hunting for the right wall
and how we kicked our feet at last while singing “Summertime,”
and one of us had a harp and one a black potato
and our feet touched the grass which from the bridge above us
must have looked heavenly which it was all fall and how
we looked like birds perched, as they say, on the wire
only there were fewer of us given our size and species
though we communed and we partook, and there was even
a kind of sound come separately and come randomly
partly from the mouth and partly from the potato
and we took at last to naming the separate grasses
which is the way it is beside walls and under wires
and some of us grew so happy we started to whistle
which is always a bad thing for beaks and for potatoes
given how in abandonment your eyes might be closed
and the horror of eagles might come down upon you.



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