In May, the snows melted,
yielding fresh cream.
And the Dyer bird flew back
to the Bok Chok tree;

Where it fanned its feathers
and sang. Sang, so that
musicians broke their bows
and wept. And the prince awoke.

“Oh, where is love?” he cried.

“Where? Each year I come
to the Bok Chok tree, wait
and hear the beautiful song:

“And return alone come fall
to my empty realm. Speak,
bird, tell me your secret
that I might find my love.”

Whereupon the Dyre bird
fanned its feathers and spoke:
“I have no secret,” it said.
And flew far, far away.

The prince picked up a feather
dropped from the bird, stuck it
in his cap, unfurled his cloak,
and sang for all the maids to hear.

From Selected Poems – 1967 -2007,
by Hudson Owen. All Rights Reserved.