Saturday, October 8, 2016

October 8: Mockingbird on the Chimney, Panel of Poets, Swedish Spies

No; we have been as usual asking the wrong question. It does not matter a hoot what the mockingbird on the chimney is singing.... The real and proper question is: Why is it beautiful?

Dillard is talking about birdsong in this little passage, and the fact that people spend a great deal of time talking about what the mockingbird on the chimney is saying.  Is it singing about the sun on its feathers?  The hawk circling in the sky?  Its nest of eggs in the pine tree?  No, Dillard says.  We're missing the point.  It's not the message so much as the package.  Sort of like looking at all the beautiful packages sitting under the Saint Marty's Day tree and not really thinking about what they contain.

Today, in about twenty minutes to be exact, I have to go to a local library to participate in a panel of poets.  It's part of a celebration of independent booksellers.  I was invited last week, and I agreed.  Of course, then all the low self-esteem kicked in.  I've known all the other poets for many, many years.  They are accomplished and successful.  My doubts and fears are unfounded.  I know that.  Like Dillard says, it's not really about what the mockingbird is singing.  It's about the beauty of the song.  I must keep that in mind.

So, I will show up, try to sell a few books, talk about poetry for an hour, maybe read some poems, and answer some questions.  I will be on the chimney with all the other mockingbirds, trying to create something uplifting, something that touches the heavens.  That's the goal, anyway.

No word from the Swedish Academy yet, although Saint Marty suspects there will be some very Scandinavian members in the audience today.

The Swedish Academy's motto.  I think it translates as "Saint Marty is great!"

1 comment: