Songbirds – a poem by Lisa Meserole


do you remember the first time you sang?

was it 4 am, your soul’s sound a lone ripple in darkness
or did you wait for the morning chorus, blend your voice in?

was it midday, your lungs pointing toward the sun
or was your first warble just before bed
a lullaby to the wind-swaying trees?

did you present yourself on the highest stage
or nestle invisible behind the curtain?

did you call out to every star and syrinx
or did you sing soft and quiet for no one at all
or share only when loved ones were listening?

where did you learn to hear the music of being
did someone help teach you arpeggios and scales
or were you born with special knowing
your own perfect pitch?

do you remember that very first song
did you bob your head to your heart’s singular beat
or did your lungs fill with melancholy air?

were you scared
did you wait past your peers until you alone were ready,
or were you curious
did melody burst forth from your feathers
you couldn’t have held back if you tried?

do you remember
that first time you dared sing in this world?

did you feel so fluttery with goodness
or were you ashamed?

tell me, did your voice feel as true
and breathtaking as wings?

does it still? 

Lisa Meserole teaches music and movement to young children in Connecticut. Her poems have appeared in Waking Up to the Earth, and in Oysterville: Poems, as well as in Connecticut River ReviewGreen Hills Literary Lantern, and Shot Glass Journal. She was also an Edwin Way Teale Writer-In-Residence at Trail Wood.

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