from The Hum of It All published April 2017
The Hum of It All
Medieval nuns like Mechthild of Magdeburg
and Julian of Norwich kept cats
in their chilly anchoress cells
to ward off mice, they say,
but I think their felines cuddled them
at night in divine embrace, purring them
into contemplative union and sleep.
So I find it with Siamese Max,
a curmudgeonly sixteen who gives
his brother Tony the fish-eye,
yet the old guy with wonderful purr
is a religious whiz by ignoring
stale theology to plunge into core sound,
drawing me toward the source and sleep.
Lately I’ve heard that cosmic hum
from my hummingbirds hovering
with patience for my elderly pace
as I replace their bottle of nectar.
They carry the sound of all sounds
even when silent to our weak hearing.
Such meditation is not solipsism, withdrawal
into cozy corners, the world be damned.
It gives us time to slow down, slow walk,
slow eat with monk Thich Nhat Hanh,
to let things penetrate our subtle defenses.
It gives us time to feel deeply the sorrow
and suffering of child soldiers made to tie
bombs around their waists, of girls sold
into slavery, and of those starved
and maimed in continuous war.
It’s all part of the greater hum.
I heard it again today in a chorus of cicadas.