Margaret Gibson with her husband David McKain.

This morning the little new
is a word I speak haltingly:
chantpleur. Quick now,
before it’s lost in the swell of wind
as the pines around our house
billow, and rain drills the roof–
say it, chantpleur. Again,
chantpleur. Hear it; let it course
down your face. Chantpleur,
a compound noun that yokes song
with the act of weeping. A noun
is a verb that holds still,
that settles in one place too long
and casts a spell of apparent
permanence. We think we’re nouns.
But really all I have to offer
is chantpleur, a word as impermanent
as the touch of rain upon my skin.
A word minted by one who has heard
the wordless song of the wind;
by one who sings and hears
within herself a blended sound,
a diphthong for the lyric river
pulsing in her wrist, a river wrested
from what no one wants to hear;
We’re losing him, he’s fading away, he’s not
himself, he’s slipped through
a rip in the mist. He’s with us, and not.
With us, and not. Chantpleur. Just look,
he moves his hands like birds as he speaks.
Every blessed word a winged
migration–flowing, flown. Chantpleur.

–Margaret Gibson, Broken Cup: Poems