Aubade – a poem by Reagan Upshaw


		The birds are raising happy hell
                - Frederick Eckman

March 1st, 6:00 A.M., a sparrow
starts his racket on the sill
nearby our bed.  No subtlety,
but from the start, insistent, shrill,

a one-man-band that soon will grow
as more and more performers come,
approximating music.  Things
devolve to an unruly scrum

instead of orchestra, each male 
demanding to be soloist
with alternating repertoires --
To rivals, Beat it! Scram! Get lost,

and stay the hell away! To females,
Baby, Baby, Baby, please!
The winner struts upon the ledge
as losers scold from nearby trees.

His song will change when a mate is found
and a nest is filled with eggs to brood,
the noise gaining a treble note
as hungry chicks demand their food.

Their lives will be uncertain, tracked
by wily predators that stalk
their daily errands: feral cats,
the ever-lurking Cooper’s Hawk,

or else torrential rains may sweep
their nest from off the sill, put paid
to fond parental labors, leaving
scattered twigs with nestlings dead.

For now, however, they are safe,
and every morning, earlier on,
we hear their boast, Our tiny lives
have made it to another dawn.

Awakened from a shortened sleep,
as chirps and flutterings begin,
you pull the blanket past your head
to stuff your ears against the din

and groan in protest, Stupid birds!
Give it a rest!  Oblivious,
they sing their matins heartlessly,
indifferent to plea or curse.

And like the birds’, our humble lives
must meet what fate has got in store.
One day, this bed will lie unused;
this home, our place, know us no more.

Across that empty spot will fall
the shadow of a raptor’s wing,
but now the morning light breaks forth.
Wake up, my love.  Arise and sing.

Reagan Upshaw lives in a town on the Hudson River 60 miles north of New York City and makes a living as an art appraiser, while gardening and keeping bees.

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