Catbird

Another thick book of testimonies—
I knew I could not remember them all.
It was as though the survivors
were moving past me in a line,
& I were choosing among them:
that way to oblivion, this way
into a poem with my rhythmic baton.
But this spring morning a catbird sang
outside my door while I was reading,

while Rabbi Solomon H. remembered his son,
a nine-year-old who had,
Solomon tells us,
half the book of Psalms by heart.
When he was taken to be slaughtered,
he was saying the Psalms from memory.
Just before being gassed, the boy said,
“I am still going to pray to God.
Maybe at the last moment we will still be saved,”

Advertisement

& I looked up,
&, as catbirds will, this one
kept singing like crazy, its song
losing track of its beginning,
never the melodies of final meanings,
but going on as though nothing
within its own singing
could ever not remember
everything.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

An official wedding photo of Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, center, in Windsor Castle, Windsor, England. Others in photo from left, back row, Jasper Dyer, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Doria Ragland, Prince William; center row, Brian Mulroney, Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte, Prince George, Rylan Litt, John Mulroney; front row, Ivy Mulroney, Florence van Cutsem, Zalie Warren, Remi Litt. (Alexi Lubomirski/Kensington Palace via AP)
A poll found that 66 percent of the British public declared they were not interested in the Windsor wedding.
David StewartMay 23, 2018
God simply is a triad of love: a going out in love, a return in love and thus, ever more, love itself.
Terrance KleinMay 23, 2018
The leaders sent a letter to President Donald Trump, administration officials and members of Congress.
Altar servers lead a Palm Sunday procession March 25 in Youtong, in China's Hebei province. (CNS photo/Damir Sagolj, Reuters)
The pope appeared to be alluding to the fact that since February there has been a crackdown by the Chinese authorities on religion in the mainland.
Gerard O’ConnellMay 23, 2018