Thursday, February 16, 2012

"The Mockingbird on Central," Stephen Kuusisto

"The Mockingbird on Central"
(Stephen Kuusisto)

This bird who lands in the oak tree
Is both a comedian and a natural fact:
In a hundred-years house
We awaken to a sweet thing,

A motor of avian laughter
Ten feet from our curtain.

This is fortune. He sings "La Paloma,"
"Weiner Bonbons,"
L'heure exquisite,
Noel Coward, Tonight at 8:30.

What precocity, a bird half the size
Of an Anjou pear

Who flies like Galli-Cursi,
Shows off like Caruso,
And all from an oak branch
Swaying above our porch.

O how he brags at three A.M.!
O how he imitates the happiness of others!

(for Connie)

Stephen Kuusisto's poem "The Mockingbird on Central" appears in his collection Only Bread, Only Light (Copper Canyon, 2000). Kuusisto has been blind since birth. From 1958-1960 Kuusisto and his parents lived in Helsinki, where, the poet says, "The gulls sounded like mewing cats and the ravens sounded like hinges in need of oil. I walked about listening to the polyphony of hungry birds." His books include the acclaimed 1998 memoir Planet of the Blind (Delta) and, most recently, Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening (W.W. Norton, 2006). Through Kaleidoscope Connections LLC, a company he co-founded with his wife Connie, the poet speaks widely on diversity, disability, education, and public policy.
(Photo from the University of Iowa Alumni Association magazine.)

1 comment:

Steve Kuusisto said...

Thank you for sharing!