The Mockingbird’s Song

My grandmother hated mockingbirds,
I didn’t understand. I loved their haphazard
song, a mishmash borrowed from
the cardinal, the dove, the crow.
Though plagiarized, more original
in freewheeling diversity, than those
that carried but a single tune.

My mother and I loved mockingbirds.
There was one we called Mocky, that used
to sit and sing, on the TV antenna
attached to the chimney, it’s song
echoing out from the fireplace,
filling the house with sound, but it
made Nanny frown.

My grandmother hated mockingbirds.
One day I asked her why. She told me
how years ago, with three kids and
a failing farm, my grandfather died.
She said, “The morning we laid him
in the ground, that bird sat there in the
tree and sang. How could it be so joyful,
when I was in such pain?”

© 2016 DM Shepherd


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