The mocker sings past midnight, waiting
for the sun to rise, does not know the cat
itself a creature of the night, lies in wait nearby.
Though its eyes are dulled by domesticity
honed claws unfurl in a slow climb.
The flutter of maple leaves
could have been the breeze that stirs.
At midnight on its tallest perch
the songbird plays its repertoire
of variations long extinct –
and for all its trilling
does not mark the cautious crawl
of a tabby that just left
an imprint on the eiderdown.
But God provides a roost for choristers
too precarious for a cat
whose instinct tells
it cannot leap without a fall.
Back-chatter bird, why not teach him
your bird talk from the maple tree.
The cat returns by the back door
pushes the heavy flap aside
and curls up by the kitchen grate
while the mocker and its jukebox plays
past midnight on its maple perch.
Upper Montclair, IX.86
Comments about this poem (Mocking bird by Julian De Wette )
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