The Willow

by Jess Steele

There’s a bird out in the garden
I hear it sing the morning into position.
I do not know what kind it is,
But it sings, sings, sings
I cannot see it from the window
In the dense heart of the weeping willow
It hides as it sings away from prying eyes.
It’s not the swallow on the wing,
In the thousands circling the last
Golden corn stubs of summer
Waiting for release.

They are too many to hide in the willow.
Nor the owl swooping,
Ghost-like through the gathering gloom,
The willow would not hide him.
Nor the kingfisher in his robes of royal blue,
A prince on the muddy brown riverbank,
His jewels the quicksilver fish that rush through eddy and brook
No river near me for the King’s court.
Nor the hovering hawk
Nor the diving kestrel
Nor the seagull bleating at the sky.
Nor even the deep brown cuckoo hulking in someone else’s nest.

And still my bird is singing, without pause.
Without desire for audience,
Without love or praise or wonder.
It sings, sings, sings
And my bird hides from prying eyes.