A New Old Saying


It may be we are like the chickadee—
Our set of songs and calls expressive but
Familiar, collocations standard cut:
A few clean notes to show our quality
A gutsy cluck to buff our narrow rut.

The indignant ruffle seems our own, and is,
And so the high, thin shims of our alarm;
But given, too, as filaments that warm
A skin. Our words are the appurtenances
Of our kind—utility and charm.

Then let us not suppose that ours may be
The most important, conjuring the most
Important things. Each utterance a ghost
Of millions, each bon mot a surety—
We keep on whistling on a weathered post.

From Issue 6

LIBBY MAXEY is a senior editor at Literary Mama, where she has been on staff since 2012Her poems have appeared in Emrys, THINK, Pirene’s Fountain, PinyonStoneboat, Crannóg and elsewhere, and her first poetry collection, Kairos, won Finishing Line Press’s 2018 New Women’s Voices Chapbook Competition. Her nonliterary activities include singing classical repertoire, mothering two sons, enjoying the woods of Western Massachusetts, and administering the Department of Classics at Amherst College.

Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

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