Why I have to sing by Kitty Jospé

Why I have to sing

my song— not the battle hymn
of any republic, nor God Save

any monarch (except
for the butterfly) or notes

about any country called mine—
no… My song, ’tis of a greater

Thee… like a Brother Francis
talking to the birds, his sisters—

a version of mine eyes
have seen the glory of

starlings—at dusk in a swooping some call
an affliction, others a murmuration

or a scourge or constellation—
indeed— a universe of stars

appearing just before twilight to
grace the end of the day…

My song is about untended fields,
banditry of chickadee, chain of bobolink

where no one would dare yank out Indian
Paintbrush, wild morning glory—

and the soft teeth of the yellow dandelion
would lend celebratory notes to necklaces

woven by children all singing God Bless
the Beautiful, in Harmony.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .I need the Navajo prayer
the quiet shepherdess song, the love

songs, the charm of hummingbirds,
and name the gaggle of all manner

of geese, a skein, sung as praise,
for how all of life weaves together.

by Kitty Jospé

Editor’s Note: The allusions threaded through the beginning lines of this poem dissipate as imagery takes over, but the underlying message only grows stronger as the speaker sings the prayers that every living thing knows.