Mourning Dove                            

My eyes and ears were toddler new when sunrise

light against the curtain called me wake

to hear the morning canopied with birdsong,

cascades of bubbling voices trebling dawn.

Then like a muted piper, smooth and low,

the cotton coo-hoo of the mourning dove

came gently from some distant hidden place.

I left my bed and, outside, pressed my toes

into the dewy grass and stopped to touch

the fattened peony buds and fuzzy iris.


“Come see the worm,” teased Grandpa, with the hoe.

I backed up.  “No.” And Grandma, anxiously, 

called, “Come to get your shoes on!”  “No, I want

to find the little bird,” I said and tried

to sing its special sounds so Grandpa’d know.

He showed me once, the dove with rounded head  

and color none, so plain I soon forgot.

And yet its random calls could make my ears

attend against all louder straining throats.

And still it bids me hear in spite of sirens,

speakers, horns, and bells, the constant strings

of ringing things, insistent beckonings

that trouble time and teach me urgency.

Then comes the dove’s soft summons from afar,

a simple mantra, intimate, intoning

calm.  From voice so small, the greatest call.

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