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  • By Daniel Leach

My Canary


I wake to hear the mockingbird’s sweet song,

That floats through morning’s fresh, green, dappled light,

Like all that for which mortal creatures long

And keep a lonely vigil through the night—

He sings so joyous, and so hopefully,

But not like my canary sang to me.


The mourning dove coos softly in the eve,

When shadows hide her from all human eyes,

And seems to sing of that for which I grieve—

That one deep, sacred thought that never dies—

She sings so sad and sweet and hauntingly,

But not like my canary sang to me.


The skylark, with a brilliant, piercing cry,

Mounts heaven-ward upon the broad noonday,

And with him, dreams of freedom seem to fly,

That we on earth may never dare to say—

And though he cries so loud and strong and free,

It’s not like my canary sang to me.


For my canary did not merely sing

For Nature, or for his own sake alone,

But for the joy he knew his song would bring

To that one heart he knew called him his own—

And though he never could, like them, be free,

Yet poured his soul into a song for me.


Featured in New Lyre


Daniel Leach is a poet living in Houston, Texas. He has spent much of his life fighting for the ideals of classical culture and poetry. His volume of poetry, compiling over 20 years of composition, is entitled "Voices on the Wind."

3 Comments


ajsedia
Aug 20, 2023

This is a touching piece with a profundity that only strikes you after you've digested the full work. Here we have three famous wild birds and their songs that invoke various powerful emotions, yet at the end the poetic voice prefers the song of its humble caged canary, which sings for its owners, not just for itself. There's also, I think, a message about love here; the canary belongs to the person for whom he sings, and therefore WANTS to sing for him. The canary is not a slave, but a lover.

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Cindy Erlandson
Cindy Erlandson
Jun 27, 2023

Beautiful! "Like all that for which mortal creatures long / And keep a lonely vigil through the night"; "And seems to sing of that for which I grieve -- / That one deep, sacred thought that never dies." are exquisite lines!

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hsdiwdc
Jun 25, 2023

Bravo ! Me (and the birds) do wish, for many more poems like this!

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