Gray Catbird, by Peter Wilton (lots of great bird photos), from Wikimedia Commons

I’m starting the new year off here on my blog with this recording of a sonnet I wrote a few months back.  My daughter and I were a bit smitten with the catbirds flitting about in the low shadows of September, and I found in the handsome gray feathers and exploratory songs the perfect excuse to explore the sonnet form some more.

I haven’t seen them in awhile, and I’m not sure if they just make themselves scarce for winter, or if we’re just inside more, watching birds from the windows rather than the open air.  Anyway, I hope you enjoy the rhythm and rhyme of my little catbird sonnet.

      Catbird - Stephanie Thomas Berry


His feathers weave in shadows gray and black
his songs he braids into the undergrowth
not shy of throat he makes to her an oath
to guard this green dark realm against the lack
of meat and fruit.  Her answer is a yes
an echo of his stolen songs, a nest
filled with three turquoise orbs warmed by her breast.
Their songs descend to rattling mews that dress
the dark with beads of red.  He spirals through
the thicket’s maze that holds their secret place
the trembling  bough, the sky-wrapped wings of grace–
and now the hungry mouths, the work of two.
Then winter’s footsteps in the falling leaves
will bring the songless dark, the empty trees.

–stephanie thomas berry


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