“Mockingbirds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
By now, you’ve probably all heard about the recent death of Harper Lee. Rarely has a single book been as revered and beloved as her timeless masterpiece, a story that remains relevant some 56 years later.
The art of storytelling is at the core of the book’s success, just as the art of storytelling is the claim to fame of its avian namesake. And as humans, it seems we never grow tired of hearing stories. Whether it’s through fiction or memoir, movies or television, prose or poetry, we are always listening for that element that resonates with our own experience, or one that teaches us something new about humanity.
There is a mockingbird that has taken up residence in my garden, and in warmer weather I look forward to drinking my tea outside while he catches me up on the news of his world. His exuberant “stories” never fail to make me smile, even as I wonder what drives him to sing so many songs that aren’t his own. In addition to songbirds, he has also learned frog sounds and hawk calls. I keep trying to teach him the “mockingjay” whistle from the movie of the same name, but so far, no luck. Perhaps this will be the year.
But it occurs to me that these vociferous singers are the poets of the bird world. It’s not hard to imagine that they spend their days observing Mother Nature’s drama and their nights “recording” what they have heard, just so they can offer their gossip to the world each morning. They offer us a looking glass into their world, in much the same way a poem mirrors something that a poet has observed.
And so, for this week’s Poetics, I want you to write a narrative poem. I want you to tell a story. As an added bonus, you can include a mockingbird, or use a theme from the novel, but let’s not call that a requirement. Just tell us a story, one that resonates with you.
I look forward to reading them all.
As part of my own story, I must add here that I have decided to step down from being a bartender at the pub. I have too many things going on in my life at the moment, and I don’t feel I have the time to fulfill that role properly. I do hope to guest post regularly, and participate when I am able, but at this time it feels unfair to call myself a member. I thank you all for what you do here, and for welcoming me so warmly.
If you are new to the pub, here’s how it works:
• Write your narrative poem
• Post it on your blog or website
• Leave a comment below to say hello
• Click on Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post and enter your name and the direct URL of your post
• Visit other poets’ work and let them know what you thought
• Spread the word on social media with the #dVersePoets hashtag