Mark Simpson

A Right and Cheerful World

I like that birds have something to say.

Discord and harmony, mellifluous and sharp.

Phonal assurances that the world is there,

that it is not really going to hell like you

thought it was, that the right actors have

taken the right places and speak in song.


I like that birds are not something 

of our invention but product of mystery 

that’s perfectly accessible if you stop to listen. 

Do so. Look up from your desk. Let the ax 

rest in the tree stump while you notice them.


This is language you want to understand—

it’s rhetorical in a way you’re grateful for, 

paused as you are in mid step, paused 

long enough to hear.


Mark Simpson is the author of Fat Chance (Finishing Line Press). Recent work has appeared in Columbia Journal (online), Third Wednesday, and Apeiron Review. He lives on Whidbey Island, Washington.

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