Poetry October 2004

Bamboo

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Bamboo talks.
It can't keep secrets,
likes to speak its mind,
always lets you know what's happening
in its rooted brakes and colonies,
takes its topics from black topsoil and river muck
bringing the underground to light;
and because it lingers for years between flowerings,
it scrapes one stalk against another
like cricket legs or rhythm sticks
to pass the time with music—
that is,
when it isn't busy jiving with wind
or chatting with a little bird
or talking shop with clumpgrass
or whispering to itself
or buttonholing strollers, insisting:
Cut me down,
make me into a flute.
Bamboo talks.
Sometimes it sings.
All you need to do is listen.

David Solway's recent books include Franklin's Passage (2003), a collection of poems, and Director's Cut (2003), a volume of literary criticism. He lives in Quebec.
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