A cardinal tapping at my window called
and in Brooklyn, this melody is rare.
A lilting and beautiful high pitched tone,
a Christmas song, gift, heavenly visitor, I thought.
From the bare mulberry tree the feathered body flew
then stopped between locked iron window bars
and caught between them, trapped I feared.
The cardinal tapped on the glass again and sang
raising memories of snow fields and scattered seeds
yes, even blue jay, chickadee, and crow
all songbird melodies answered him inside of me.
I clambered up a chair closer to the tiny prisoner
and looking out through the glass and bars,
I was quite blinded by the dappling morning sun.
I pulled aside the curtain and fussed with the locks
but when I saw him, he was balanced comfortably.
Quite still, he sat on a bobbing twig and looked at me.
Passing easily between the branches and the bars
and off he flew, and then is when it came to me.
I was trapped, not he, I stuck within these walls.
And he had come hoping to set me free.
– J.J.Brown 2011
(Photo credit: NationalGeographic.com)