Clade Song 9

Melospiza melodius

The sudden, bright notes of the song sparrow,
so much higher and brighter than any other sound,
pierce inland from a tangent, to bubble and astound
with a sweetness unconfined to that narrow
strip of weeds from which they ascend like an arrow
aimed at the cynic’s heart, the target’s ground.
Spritzes of stratospheric C resound,
descending to grassy infant G, to harrow

the minor fields with major, sundering chiaro
from scuro, a thrill on staves of gilded straw.
Far from the fictions of history, a sung epistle
stirs unexamined joy in the marrow,
says beginnings are all and doubt a flaw,
in arias from beach plum and thistle.




K. E. Duffin's work has appeared in Abridged, Agenda, Agni, The Carolina Quarterly, The Cincinnati Review, Claudius Speaks, Crannóg, Harvard Review, Kestrel, The Moth, Pembroke Magazine, Ploughshares, Poetry, Poetry Salzburg Review, Prairie Schooner, Scintilla, The Sewanee Review, Shenandoah, The SHOp, Southern Poetry Review, Thrush, Verse, Zymbol, and other journals. King Vulture, a book of poems, was published by the University of Arkansas Press. New poems are in Canary, North Carolina Literary Review, Salamander, and Slant.