Song of Life

As one of the purposes of Write Learning is to showcase my writing, here’s the manuscript of one of my “nearly published…oh, guess not” children’s books. I wrote Song of Life while going through some gut-wrenching job turmoil, which had me so down I wondered if I’d be able to sing at my upcoming choir concerts. Randomly, the thought crossed my mind: What if that happened to a bird…?

Song of Life

For Logan, Erica, and Max,
who reminded me of the power of story
and taught me that mine is worth telling.

There once was a Papa Bird—
my, could he sing!
All over the town,
his words, they would ring.

In the mornings he’d wake
and the bright sun he’d greet
with a loud, happy song
of each day’s fresh new treat:

“Oh the grass, it is green
and the air, it is sweet.
There’s water to drink
and nice worms for to eat.”

He’d sing to his wife,
his dear Mama Bird;
he’d sing to their babies,
first, second and third.

He’d sing to the flowers
and people he’d meet—
why, he’d even sing to
that cat down the street.

In the evenings he’d tuck in
his babies with care;
singing a lullaby
softly, he’d share:

“My family’s a treasure,
and life is a pearl
I’m the luckiest bird
in this lovely green world.”

Every day, every night
he would sing, sing, and sing,
and all over the town,
his words, they would ring.

One bright sunny day
Mama Bird chirped, “Our brood—
I think they are hungry;
please fetch them some food.”

With a smile, Papa answered,
“My love and my life!
Whatever you wish,
I will do it, my wife.”

So away, far away,
he happily flew,
soaring and singing
as only he knew.

But when he got home,
the nest—it was bare!
Not a peep, not a chirp,
not a single bird there!

Papa flew about madly
from tree unto tree.
He just could not think
where on Earth they might be.

Then finally he saw them,
his deepest dark fear—
a few ragged feathers
and fur—it was clear…

“That cat, he has done this,”
our Papa Bird swore.
“My wife and my babies,
I’ll see them no more.

“This world is not lovely—
yes, that I now see.
And I just do not think
there’s a song left in me.”

So away, far away,
in grief now he flew.
Not a note did he sing,
for his heart was too blue.

For many long days
he was too sad to sing.
The town had gone silent;
his words did not ring.

The flowers, they wilted;
the grass faded, too.
The people were grumpy,
yet nobody knew

this was all from the sorrow
of one quiet bird.
Life had turned sour,
for no song was heard

until one day when Papa Bird’s
sadness grew strong.
Angry and crying,
he burst into song:

“My children were taken,
my precious wife, too;
my happiness gone,
I don’t know what to do.

“I once sang from gladness;
on high did I soar.
But my song is now sadness
and pain evermore.”

Then, just at that moment
a new sound was heard:
a kind voice said, “Could that be
you, Papa Bird?”

His heart went aflutter
as what did he view
but his dear, loving Mama Bird
and their babies (two?).

He could not believe
what his eyes showed to him.
Then Mama Bird chirped
in a voice tight and grim:

“That cat, he surprised us—
he’s simply too spry.
We barely had time,
when we saw him, to fly.

“Our youngest, my dear,
the cat took him away.
Heartbroken, I hoped at least
you were okay.

“But we could not find you.
We searched high and low;
we listened for that lovely
birdsong we know.

“For days and for days
not a note did we hear.
That you were lost, too,
oh, how much did we fear!

“It was your sad song that
led us to you.
Now let us go home,”
Mama Bird softly cooed.

To their nest they did go, then,
four birds on the wing.
And in time a new song
did Papa Bird sing.

“Oh the grass, it is green
and the air, it is sweet.
There’s water to drink
and nice worms for to eat.

“But cats must eat too,
and we just do not know
how much time might be left us
to live, love, and grow.

“Life is still precious
despite loss and pain.
You’ve just got to sing,
in the sun and the rain.”

And the grass and the flowers
grew tall once again.
And the people, they smiled
to hear birdsong…



Filed under Writing

7 responses to “Song of Life

  1. I’ve always loved this poem. Didn’t you publish it at some point?

    • Well, yes; sort of. That is, I did sign a contract — that’s what I meant by “nearly published…oh, guess not.” I hope to write a separate blog post about that whole fiasco in the near-ish future…

  2. Morgan

    enjoyable didactic! 🙂 I could read that to my kids, add some creative illustrations and VIOLA! Go for it!

    • Thanks, Morgan! I appreciate the feedback. A key inspiration for my children’s books was reading library books to my sister’s kids and thinking, “Hey…I could write something at least as good as this!” 🙂

  3. Pingback: When My Dad Was Little | Write Learning

  4. Pingback: How *Not* to Get Published | Write Learning

  5. Pingback: Schemes & Dreams | Write Learning

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