American Life in Poetry
A while back, we published a poem about a mockingbird, but just because one poet has written a poem about something, he or she doesn’t hold rights to the subject in perpetuity. Here’s another fine mockingbird poem from Carol V. Davis, who lives in Los Angeles. Mockingbird II
How perfectly he has mastered
the car alarm, jangling us from sleep.
Later his staccato scatters smaller birds
that landed on the wire beside him.
Perhaps the key to success
is imitation, not originality.
Once, when the cat slinked up
the orange tree and snatched a hatchling,
the mockingbird turned on us,
marked us for revenge.
For two whole weeks he dive bombed
whenever I ventured out the screen door
lured by his call: first tricked into thinking
the soft coo was a mourning dove courting,
next drawn by the war cry of a far larger animal.
He swooped from one splintered eave, his mate from the other,
aiming to peck out my eyes, to wrestle
the baby from my arms, to do God knows what
with that newborn.
Poem copyright 2008 by Carol V. Davis, from ”Between Storms” (Truman State University Press, 2012) and is reprinted by permission of the author and publisher. American Life in Poetry is supported by The Poetry Foundation and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.