on our front porch
in the apple tree
on the bird-house roof
perches this song-ful bird
She occupies the whole front of the townhouse!
“To Be Human Is to Sing Your Own Song.”
Everything I can think of that my parents
thought or did I don’t think and I don’t do.
I opened windows, they shut them. I pulled
open the curtains, they shut them. If you
get my drift. Of course there were some
similarities – they wanted to be happy
and the weren’t. I wanted to be Shelley and I
wasn’t. I don’t mean I didn’t have to avoid
imitation, the gloom was pretty heavy. But
then, for me, there was the forest, where
they didn’t exist. And the fields. Where I
learned about birds and other sweet tidbits
of existence. The song sparrow, for example.
In the song sparrow’s nest the nestlings,
those who would sing eventually, must listen
careful to the father bird as he sings
and make their own song in imitation of his.
I don’t know if any other bird does this (in
nature’s way has to do this). But I know a
child doesn’t have to. Doesn’t have to.
Doesn’t have to. And I didn’t.
So much wisdom and tenderness, so much resistance and surrender simultaneously, so much awareness that in the second half of our lives there is more room for grace within ourselves and those we love than we ever imagined.