Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: Mockingbird

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

Today the incomparable Mekeel McBride of Kittery describes the singing of the mockingbird.

Mockingbird by Mekeel McBride

The mockingbird?s a live encyclopedia
of song, Listen, it can be
the whole world humming to itself:
tinsel consonant of wind
in love with whatever its silken glove
touches, never touches,
and then again it?s just the normal chatter
of thrust or grackle.
The mockingbird?s own song? Difficult
to hear in this aria that includes
news from every absent bird,
but slightly richer. All night
it stays awake, slipping its glad opera
into the delicate bone cage
of the Emperor?s or your sleeping
ear. For this, the glass blower wakes
and weeps, knowing how frail his world is
and imperfect.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2006 Mekeel McBride. Reprinted from Dog Star Delicatessen, Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2006, by permission of Mekeel McBride. Please note that the column is no longer accepting submissions; comments about it may be directed to special consultant to the poet laureate, Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, at mainepoetlaureate@gmail.com or 207-228-8263. Take Heart: Poems from Maine, an anthology collecting the first two years of this column, is now available from Down East Books.