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Catbird Poems

Table of Contents

  1. The Catbird by Anonymous
  2. My Catbird by William Henry Venable

Poems About Catbirds

  1. The Catbird

    by Amos Rusell Wells

    It mimics the vireo's song,
    Insistent and jerky and sweet;
    Like a robin it ripples along,
    Like a sparrow it rhymes with the street.

    Its rail is now fluty and far,
    Like a veery at sunset alone;
    Now sad as the wood pewees are,
    Now bright as the oriole's tone;

    Now moeklng the doughty ehewink,
    Now bold in the call of the jay;
    Now matching the crazed bobolink,
    Or the medowlark's brisk roundelay;

    And all through the marvellous feat
    A something uncanny, untrue,
    A tang of the mocker, the cheat,
    A hint of a petulant mew!

  2. My Catbird

    by William Henry Venable

    A Capriccio

    Nightingale I never heard,
    Nor skylark, poet's bird;
    But there is an aether-winger
    So surpasses every singer,
    (Though unknown to lyric fame,)
    That at morning, or at nooning,
    When I hear his pipe a-tuning,
    Down I fling Keats, Shelley, Wordsworth,—

    What are all their songs of birds worth?
    All their soaring
    Souls' outpouring?
    When my Mimus Carolinensis,
    (That's his Latin name,)
    When my warbler wild commences
    Song's hilarious rhapsody,
    Just to please himself and me!
    Primo Cantante!
    Scherzo! Andante!
    Piano, pianissimo!
    Presto, prestissimo!
    Hark! are there nine birds or ninety and nine?
    And now a miraculous gurgling gushes
    Like nectar from Hebe's Olympian bottle,
    The laughter of tune from a rapturous throttle!
    Such melody must be a hermit-thrush's!
    But that other caroler, nearer,
    Outrivaling rivalry with clearer
    Sweetness incredibly fine!
    Is it oriole, redbird, or bluebird,
    Or some strange, un-Auduboned new bird?
    All one, sir, both this bird and that bird,
    The whole flight are all the same catbird!
    The whole visible and invisible choir you see
    On one lithe twig of yon green tree.
    Flitting, feathery Blondel!
    Listen to his rondel!
    To his lay romantical!
    To his sacred canticle!
    Hear him lilting,
    See him tilting
    His saucy head and tail, and fluttering
    While uttering
    All the difficult operas under the sun
    Just for fun;
    Or in tipsy revelry,
    Or at love devilry,
    Or, disdaining his divine gift and art,
    Like an inimitable poet
    Who captivates the world's heart
    And don't know it.
    Hear him lilt!
    See him tilt!
    Then suddenly he stops,
    Peers about, flirts, hops,
    As if looking where he might gather up
    The wasted ecstasy just spilt
    From the quivering cup
    Of his bliss overrun.
    Then, as in mockery of all
    The tuneful spells that e'er did fall
    From vocal pipe, or evermore shall rise,
    He snarls, and mews, and flies.

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