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A Mockingbird Morning
by Frederick W. Bassett

Everywhere I biked, mockingbirds
were lifting the world
on the back of their songs.
Who, with ears to hear, would not soar
with them on such a glorious fall morning?

Cloaked now in the solitude
of this study, I regret I only stopped
to admire a black-faced fox squirrel,
slighting the common grey ones,
as if numbers could diminish the stars.

Why didn't I stop for a stomp
with the firethorn, all ablaze
with bright red berries?
The cedar waxwings will have
many a good drunk this winter.

And why were the mockingbirds
so excessively joyous?
Praise for surviving a drought-plagued
summer here in the Lowcountry?
Cause enough for me.

The doctor said it would be optimistic
to think I could make it this far.
So every new day is a tasty table
of diversity, every starry night
an ever-flowing fountain of wonder.

How I'd like to be a mockingbird
perched high in a tree
this very moment, tripling
each bar of my day-clean song.
Look at me. I'm alive. Yet alive.

Previously published in Hilton Head Island: Unpacked and Staying, 2007


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