PROMPT: THE POEM “MOCKINGBIRD” BY MARY OLIVER

The prompt this week is a poem by Mary Oliver from her book of poems titled, A Thousand Mornings.

THE MOCKINGBIRD, by Mary Oliver.

THE MOCKINGBIRD

All summer

the mockingbird

in his pearl-gray coat

and his white-windowed wings

 

flies

from the hedge to the top of the pine

and begins to sing, but it’s neither

lilting nor lovely,

 

for he is the thief of other sounds-

whistles and truck brakes and dry hinges

plus all the songs

of other birds in his neighborhood;

 

mimicking and elaborating,

he sings with humor and bravado,

so I have to wait a long time

for the softer voice of his own life

 

to come through. He begins

by giving up all his usual flutter

and settling down on the pine’s forelock

then looking around

 

as though to make sure he’s alone;

then he slaps each wing against his breast,

where his heart is,

and, copying nothing, begins

 

easing into it

as though it was not half so easy

as rollicking,

as though his subject now

 

was his true self,

which of course was as dark and secret

as anyone else’s,

and it was too hard-

 

perhaps you understand-

to speak or to sing it

to anything or anyone

but the sky.

 

Take any inspiration you find in the poem and write in whatever direction you wish to take it.

 

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