“It’s A Sin To Kill A Mockingbird”

Nine Mile Falls Nora Egger

Nine Mile Falls Spokane WA
Nora Egger Artist

 It’s a Sin to Kill a Mockingbird
(For Martina, sister of my flock)

Fractured light beckoning
through unhallowed glass windows
sends her fleeing to the river,
singing wheels a metronome for her soul,
marking mile after mile, hurt upon hurt.
Don’t they know it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird?
They can’t hear her song.

Muscles spent spirit spent
she collapses onto her meditation boulder
midway around the rushing snake and takes in hand
her most sacred scripture.
River rapids keep time
with sound-words tripping over sound-words
“Dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air…”
She lifts her eyes to the river and sees the falcon
wrestling with the wind and winning.
In that sacred, synchronous moment her song
reverberates through the canyon
and she knows that no matter what,
the mockingbird lives.

© rita h kowats 2015

I am indebted to Nora Egger for her gifted painting and her permission to use it here.  Those of a “certain age” will be taken back to Macolm GA of the 1930’s in Haper Lee’s magnificent classic, To Kill a Mockingbird.  It is a sin, says Atticus, because  “mockingbirds do not harm people, but sing their hearts out for us.”

My Scripture

The Windhover

To Christ our Lord

I caught this morning morning’s minion, king-
    dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
    Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
    As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
    Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird, – the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!
Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
    Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!
   No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
    Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion.
♠Gerard Manley Hopkins


4 thoughts on ““It’s A Sin To Kill A Mockingbird”

  1. Rita, Thank you so much….I read your poem in our Liturgy this a.m. Tis amazing how a beautiful little mocking bird can bring so much thought and depth..Deo Gratias!


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