“Birds deserve one whole psalm of thanksgiving”

Birds

That God made birds is surely in His favor.
I write them as His courtesies of love.
Hidden in leaves, they offer me sweet savor
of lightsome music; when they streak above

my garden wall they brush my scene with color.
They are embroideries upon the grass.
I write the gayest stitched-in blossoms duller
than birds which change their patterns as I pass.

I nurse a holy envy of St. Francis
who lured the birds to nestle at his breast.
Yet I am grateful for this one which dances
across my lawn, a reckless anapest.

Subjects for gratitude push up my living
praise to a sum that tempts the infinite;
but birds deserve one whole psalm of thanksgiving
and these words are my antiphon for it.

Jessica Powers (1956)

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