Monthly Archives: July 2021

“A Need to Be Heard”


by Sue Owen

Some summer nights you
can hear them getting all
worked up over this idea
of cheerfulness and song.

Deep in the grasses where
they hide, there is a need
to be heard in the darkness,
even if their voices are

so small they sound
like a door creaking on
its hinge, or the squeak
a drawer makes when

it opens up at last.
It seems as if the damp
air and dew are trying
to hold their song down

out of sheer gravity,
but neither dampness nor
darkness makes them stop.
In fact, the crickets like

to show off their song,
to let it lift up off
the earth the way that
all notes rise to the stars,

and float up through the
thick night, as if their
joy itself were the only light
we needed to follow.

From The Yellow Shoe Poets: Selected Poems 1964-1999. © Louisiana State University Press, 1999.

As summer keeps flying by, I’m doing my best to stay present to its many pleasures, tuning into my senses so I don’t forget–in the midst of so much inner and outer noise–the joy of being right here, the abundance that’s always available in the now. Lately, just sitting outside and listening to the chorus of sounds (the song sparrows, catbirds, chipmunks, traffic on the highway, tractors in the fields) has been helping me to stay more grounded. There’s something about making a conscious effort to focus on just one sense too that makes it a little less overwhelming, making my listening into a kind of meditation-in-the-moment. I love the way Sue Owen’s poem, which I’ve been returning to these past few weeks, invites us into the exuberant joy of singing our songs like those crickets, no matter what forces might be trying to hold our music down.

Invitation for Writing and Reflection: Make some time to spend outside with no other stimuli or distractions, and just look, smell, listen, taste, or touch. What calls to your senses as you give your undivided attention to your surroundings, even if it is for just a few minutes?