The mockingbird opens his throat among the thorns for his own reasons
but doesn't mind if we pause to listen and learn something
for ourselves; he doesn't stop, he nods his gray head
with the frightfully bright eyes, he flirts his supple tail, he says:
listen, if you would listen. There's no end to good talk, to passion songs,
to the melodies that say this branch, this tree is mine,
to the wholesome happiness of being alive on a patch
of this green earth in the deep pleasures of summer. What a bird!
Your clocks, he says plainly,
which are always ticking,
do not have to be listened to.
The spirit of his every word.
We are in deep winter in North America. The mockingbirds are here, but not as flamboyant as they will be come this summer. I suppose that if I listened hard enough I would hear the happiness of being alive from other sources, whether it's on a patch of urban sidewalk, suburban strip mall, or brown fields of last year's harvest.
I step outside and I hear street traffic, a dog barking, some identified bird, my own heart, and a ringing in my ears. I have hearing loss accompanied by a constant ringing and have for years. So I don't always hear the bird calls that others might. Instead I let my imagination wonder, for I know that beauty flits among the wet branches this grey morning.
Whatever our perceived flaws or losses, don't we each have to find our way to compensate, to be able to listen to the spirit of this world?
What do you hear when you walk out this morning? In what ways do you compensate for who you are so that you may know happiness?