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The Poet and The Sun

2006-07-14 00:10

  The boys liked the sun. He liked the sun most of all. He could see, hear, and sign in the sun.

  When the sun shone, his house was beautiful. Water was blue. Trees were green. Rocks were white. Everything had its own color, everything awakened in the light of the sun.

  His friends the rooster crowed, and all people and sheep and birds woke to its crowing. His friend the rabbit left the house for the forest, shaking its long white ears. The boy ran ahead and watched the rabbit happily, stopping to rub its warm back.

  The boy liked the birds. He liked their awakening songs. He liked to watch them fly and the color of their wings in the sun.

  But most of all he liked the sun.

  When the sun went away, the rooster returned to its hutch, and the rabbit folded back its long ears and closed its eyes. The nighthawks came, and other birds were afraid and did not sing any more.

  When the sun went away, it became dark. The earth became black.

  Everything turned black, jet black.

  The boy did not like darkness. His eyes could not see colors in the dark, and his ears could not hear any song. So he top went to bed.

  One night he dreamed that he had grown up and could climb high mountains. So he decided he would climb the nearest mountain and catch the sun in his hands and bring it home so it would never be dark again.

  Early next morning the rooster was still crowing when the boy ran out of his. The rabbit opened its eyes, and the boy was gone.

  “I don't know where he was going,” the rooster told the rabbit, “but he went that way,” and he pointed to the path that led to the mountain.

  The rabbit said: “Shouldn't we go after him? He shouldn't be left all alone.”

  The rabbit ran and ran. The rooster too danced along quickly, trying not to be left behind.

  The boy had just reached the foot of the mountain when they caught up with him. Happy to his friends, the boy stopped, rubbed the rabbit's warm fur and waved to the rooster.

  The boy was happy that he was no longer alone. The mountain was high, and the boy moved quickly, afraid the sun might go away before he reached the top.

  The rooster became very tired and stopped to rest on a large rock. But the boy did not look back. He was too intent to think of being tired.

  The white rabbit knew the way. With his strong legs he could jump on to the highest rocks and climb any height. But he went slowly so the boy could keep us.

  The mountain was much like the forest. Sometimes there were big rocks, and some times there were tall trees-small bushes here, tall grass there-water in one spot, earth in another.

  And everything it was green. Light green, dark green, jade green, green the color of new grass, green the color of rain-washed leaves.

  There were also other colors-red, orange, yellow, blue, indigo, purple . . .and many colorful flowers. There were short trees and tall trees, thin bushes and thick bushes.

  Whatever colors the boy did or did not know-they were all there. And the boy knew too that the sun was there, waiting for him on the mountaintop.

  The white rabbit kept running on ahead. The boy was so busy watching the rabbit's leaps and listening to the birds' singing that he did not see they had reached the mountaintop. Suddenly he saw that the path was not going uphill any longer. There were no more bushes, no more trees. Everywhere there was nothing but long green grass, and his friend the white rabbit was playing in the grass.

  The boy stopped and looked up at the sky, where he saw the sun. He looked back the way they had come and saw the trees and saw the bushes and rocks, and there beyond the foot of the mountain he saw a thin brown line. The line was a row of houses in his village. His own house looked so small that he could barely see it. All the houses blurred into a brown line.

  Turning back, he went through the tall grass to the farther edge of the mountaintop, where he stood and looked down. There were trees and bushes and rocks on that side of the mountain too. And below him, in the far distance, there was another brown line of houses: there was a village on the other side of the mountain that was just like his own.

  But the sun was not on the mountaintop!

  The boy sat down in the long grass and thought. He said to himself: “The sun's not here. It never was here. The sun is bigger than any mountain. It's too big to welcome me. It never welcomes anyone.”

  He lay down in the grass, and the rabbit stood beside him. The boy covered his eyes with his fingers. Then, making a slim, slim, crack between his fingers. Then, making a slim, slim crack between his fingers, he looked at the sun high in the sky. The sun seemed very near again, as though it was in his hands. And there in the sun he could see every color he had ever seen before.

  He saw the sun was red.

  He saw the sun was yellow.

  He saw the sun was green, the color of trees, the color of spring leaves, the color of fields of grass.

  He saw that every color was in the sun.

  Everything he knew was in the sun.

  Everything he liked was in the sun.

  He spoke to the sun and heard the sun say: “I am everywhere, everywhere with everything, with everyone and for everyone. Whoever lies me likes everything and likes everybody. Whoever talks to me talks to everything and talks to everybody.”

  The boy said nothing. The said everything.

  The sun slipped through the narrow crack between his fingers. It stole over his face and rested on his chest. His chest was warm, warm, and from there the warmth spread through all his body.

  The boy took his hands from his eyes stood up.

  The rabbit went running back the way they had come. The rabbit ran quickly and soon reached the rock where the rooster was waiting for them.

  The rabbit said: “The sun talked to the boy.” Then the rabbit ran on to tell all the other rabbits.

  The rooster spread its wings, stretched its head high, and sang out with a loud voice, the loudest voice possible.

  The roster sang out to all the birds: “The sun talked to the boy. The sun talked to the boy.”

  And the wind carried the rooster's voice everywhere, and the voice sounded everywhere: “The sun talked to the boy. The sun talked to the boy.”

  All the trees heard the words, and all the grasses too.

  All the trees told the birds.

  All the birds told the rocks.

  All the rocks told the water.

  And the water told the earth.

  Then the boy left the mountaintop for home.

  The grass opened a way for him.

  The trees shook their branches for him, and the birds sang for him.

  Now he knew the language of the birds, of the trees, of the rocks, of everything.

  He grew up, became a man, became a father. He wrote down the words of the birds, the trees, the rocks, the water. He told these to the people. And the language of the water, rocks, trees, and birds is the language of poetry. It the language of human beings.

  I heard his poems from my father, and I read them to my son. And this one of his poems, a poem that he brought down from the mountaintop that day so long ago:

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