dVerse Poetics: Listen to the Mockingbird

Today at dVerse, Kelly is our bartender and is giving the prompt for our poems. We are to write a narrative poem using Mockingbird as the theme. Come join us for this varied and natural musical prompt for our poems. http://dversepoets.com/2016/02/23/poetics-listen-to-the-mockingbird/


The brown thrasher and the mockingbird
have been friends for several years.
Both are loners with no mates.
I think of them as two bachelor buddy buskers
sitting on the wire or in the bushes
serenading us with their songs,
happy for any food tossed as their fee.
The thrasher is a bit OCD as he has to imitate
every sound twice before going on to the next sound.
the mockingbird is a bit of a free spirit
singing at will but many times
they end up singing in harmony –
sometimes a wandering duet
and sometimes an operatic solo.
I have spent several years teaching them
the first six notes of the musical theme
for the XFiles.
Sometimes they oblige, sometimes they
listen as I whistle my human best.
But all the birds know:
the bluebirds, goldfinches, cardinals,
blue jays, the several nut thatches that
come and perch on my shoulder or on the
chair across from me and peck bits
from my outheld hand.
When they all hear those notes,
They gather.
They know:
The food is out there.

25 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. whimsygizmo
    Feb 23, 2016 @ 17:37:22

    This line makes me ridiculously happy:
    “I have spent several years teaching them
    the first six notes of the musical theme
    for the XFiles.”

    Especially when combined with the last line. 🙂
    So great.


    • kanzensakura
      Feb 23, 2016 @ 17:48:51

      The bluebirds won’t sing but they know that song means: mealy worms! Sometimes the thrasher will imitate and sometimes the mockingbird. I just grin every time.


  2. Sanaa Rizvi
    Feb 23, 2016 @ 17:38:35

    Such an exquisite poem ❤


  3. The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap
    Feb 23, 2016 @ 17:53:28

    “As you whistle your human best” = a wonderful line and your human best is something I hear/see and love. Big hug to you. ❤


  4. Glenn Buttkus
    Feb 23, 2016 @ 18:05:02

    A masterful tale, rife with whimsey, & ornithological knowledge; part Disney, part Lee; really enjoyed it. The theme & closing lines really crease my face with a smile.


  5. Victoria C. Slotto
    Feb 23, 2016 @ 19:15:29

    Sheer delight, Toni…as I stare out the window at my finches, hummingbirds and wrens. The mockingbirds don’t like to be on this side of the house…perhaps because of the golf cart. I love watching and listening to birds.


  6. kelly
    Feb 23, 2016 @ 20:15:25

    Oh, this just made me smile and smile…. And gives me hope that one day the mockingjay whistle will be learned! I don’t think we have thrashers here, but it sounds like a fun competition, and I laughed at his OCD. A lovely poem!


    • kanzensakura
      Feb 23, 2016 @ 20:25:30

      Thank you! And thank you for this prompt. Thrashers are very similar to mockingbirds in their size, body shape, musical imitation and singing – except for that making sounds twice before moving on. They naturally make an odd “tsusk” sound and are delightful yard companions.


  7. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Feb 24, 2016 @ 00:24:52

    What a totally wonderful story. Such delight to have those bachelor birds beng there for you (or at least for the food) ..


  8. Kathy Reed
    Feb 24, 2016 @ 03:40:10

    Oh, fun! I think we all needed a little levity this evening. Very well done, indeed!


  9. ShirleyB
    Feb 24, 2016 @ 08:33:52

    Connotations of a wonderful woodland bird-whisperer. Delightful imagery.


  10. MarinaSofia
    Feb 24, 2016 @ 13:55:08

    Well done you for teaching them the X Files theme! And I am impressed by your knowledge of birds. I am not familiar with mockingbirds, so I did not include them in my prompt. But you are the original bird-tamer or bird-magician!


  11. Linda Kruschke
    Feb 24, 2016 @ 15:53:16

    This made me smile, to think of you whistling the X-files surrounded by birds of many colors all looking for your wonderful offering of food. Peace, Linda


  12. Raivenne
    Feb 24, 2016 @ 15:59:14

    The visual of this in my minds eye just made me grin wide. What a delightful write!


  13. lillian
    Feb 25, 2016 @ 06:55:28

    You’ve whistled well my friend! These two months in Bermuda, as often as I can, I awake and watch the dawn. The changing clouds and rising sun are beautiful but what I love most is the awakening of birds. (hmmmm there’s a poem in that!) There is one bird here that Bermudians hate, the Kiskadee. It was actually brought to the islands for ecological reasons — to rid them of an insect that was affecting their trees. And it turned out to be a horrible decision — it has eaten all of the good things — carries seeds in its beak and drops it everywhere so that there is an invasion of the species they do not want. But for me, its bright yellow breast, and mostly its song, which sounds exactly like kis-kah-dee is quite amazing. I always answer it with the words kis-kah-dee……a whistler I am not. I have a video of the waters here that have its song in the background….I think you would enjoy it! 🙂
    Loved your piece. Your poems, Toni, always bring connections to me.


    • kanzensakura
      Feb 25, 2016 @ 13:10:40

      I am glad for that connection. I love hearing about the kiskade and hope you will write that poem and include that video. I’m not a bird whisperer though, just very patient and persistent.


  14. Bekkie
    Feb 26, 2016 @ 12:38:20

    Love the humor in this! X Files, Lol!


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