Detail from a painting by Rene Magritte
Why Do Birds Sing?

The vast majority are in it
for the money, though a significant number
are also enamored with the fame.
Some are heroin addicts.
Many have been on tour so long
they've forgotten the feeling of a warm nest
and can no longer return home without
stepping on the eggs.

Sometimes it's for supper, a worm scrap
discarded by the more finely feathered
and brightly colored. Life in the coal mine
is difficult and quickly turns yellow to gray.

Often it's to distract heaven from the sins
of the claw, to placate angry angels
and be forgiven without asking for forgiveness.

A few do it without thought, humming with
the beauty of not knowing and sliding down the sky;
the rest are those crushed under
the weight of endless boredom,
calling out into empty indigo nights.

John Whitted


More Poetry by John Whitted, Featured Poet

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