My Canary by Daniel Leach

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 Summer 2022 (forthcoming)

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