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Lois Parker Edstrom


In the garden at twilight, the fragrance
of lavender mingles with the night air, clouds
deepening to purple.
My husband, clipping lilacs, straightens
from his task, alert, as if he hears a distant sound.
Profound hearing loss has isolated him
within seasons of silence. He has always loved 
spring, the lengthening days, the first crocuses
and, most of all, bird song.
Now I sense he is aware of something beyond
the usual wall of silence. I hear the birds, he says.
New hearing devices, advanced technology,
have sprung him into spring and for the first time
in over ten years he listens to birds
settling into the night: avian vespers.

© by Lois Parker Edstrom.
Used with the author’s permission.





Lois Parker Edstrom is a retired nurse. Author of five collections of poetry--including her latest, Road Signs and Hobo Marks--her award-winning work has been featured in numerous journals, appeared on The Writer’s Almanac and American Life in Poetry, been adapted to dance, and transcribed into Braille. Lois lives with her husband on Whidbey island, off the coast of Washington. Learn more about her at






Post New Comment:
A lovely poem and such tenderness shown to your husband. I know the joy of the new technology and am grateful every single day that it allows me to hear birdsong. You have captured that feeling perfectly. What a gorgeous last line.
Posted 03/03/2020 01:57 PM
Love the repetition of purple-related colors - lavender, lilacs, purple clouds, crocuses. Lovely poem.
Posted 03/03/2020 12:57 PM
Vespers from the old French: evensong. The perfect end to a lovely poem.
Posted 03/03/2020 12:45 PM
Oh yes, Lois, you've captured the rewards of bittersweet caretaking.
Posted 03/03/2020 11:06 AM
Posted 03/03/2020 09:25 AM
michael escoubas:
Congratulations Lois, on such tenderness that combines the silence of internal man with the chorus of compassion found (discovered?) in the natural world, all coalescing through poetry. Bravo !!
Posted 03/03/2020 08:10 AM
Boy, can I relate to this. After not being able to hear the sounds of grass and twigs under my feet for years, the scratching of a key against a key hole as I entered my house, or my car�s blinker clicking for what my wife would say was an eternity, new technology is a blessing. Love the bird songs all day long now. I appreciate the love I felt in your poem . Randy
Posted 03/03/2020 07:20 AM
Janet Leahy:
A beautiful poem of gratitude, lovely lovely last line.
Posted 03/03/2020 05:29 AM

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