Apr 06 2008

Autumn Whistler

Published by Brian at 5:55 pm under poetry

poem by Robin Pugh Yi

The Whistler is nearly extinct.
I can’t remember the last time I heard one.
A jaunty gray-haired man with a felt hat
whistling a polka or
“The Girl from Ipanema”
on his constitutional.
Someone’s hip mom trilling
“Dock of the Bay”
while she flips pancakes for
Saturday morning.
A philosophical hippy
like my father
attempting Smetana’s “Moldau.”

Whistled tunes used to blow in
through an open kitchen window,
drift down the office hall,
entertain us at the bus stop.

I don’t know how long
they had been gone
before I noticed.
Until an early autumn morning when
the cedar and maple-tinged air longs
for a whistle.

The houses and pedestrians
demand hesitation.
Whistling a happy tune
is no longer
whimsy, but
a solemn ritual,
revival of a lost art–
self-conscious, attention-drawing,
like wearing a kilt or bonnet or
felt hat.

Still, the air wants
“Me and Julio”
And I’m walking by a schoolyard
where none of the students
will recognize
the whistle solo
from bygone AM radio.
When I do put my lips together
and blow,
the birds,
breathing melodious homage
to their dinosaur ancestors,
seem to appreciate
the company.

One Response to “Autumn Whistler”

  1. Roberton 07 Apr 2008 at 12:12 am


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