A cool morning breeze stirs the treetops
A swarm of midges become fireflies in the slanting light
Cottontails twitch their soft brown ears
but hardly pause their breakfast as I pass by
A flash of scarlet among the branches
I stop to drink the air and the playful dance
of the cardinal and his mate
flitting, flirting, hiding, chasing
These woods ring with chirps and trills
Grasshoppers and stream trickle lay a steady undertone
Then a mockingbird takes the stage
there on the tiptop of that young elm
to warble a soaring aria
It reverberates in the glade, ringing sweet and clear
from the throat of this slender gray bird
a range and virtuosity heard only
in the freshening dawn of a spring meadow
As my amazement rises, something sloughs off
my weary heart and crunches underfoot
like an old, dry snakeskin
— all my worry, my self obsession —
and I wonder, for whom do the birds sing?
For me, for each other, for the joy of the dawn
Or can they do no other, being made to rejoice?
Where is my perch and what my song
my hymn to the morning, my gift to the earth?
Do I dare to shed my wary bespectacled awkwardness
to chirrup brazenly from my truest heart?
by Celeste Boudreaux, April 26, 2020
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