Poem of the Month

Misheard Lyrics by Graham Bruce Fletcher

In the tree a blackbird sings

shrill, bubbling ululations;

uncorks my human ear, which rings

to feathered modulations.

For me, no numbness – it awakes

uplifting inspiration

forget the hemlock; this song makes

my heart feel jubilation.


Not dead of night, not wing that’s broken;

but morning – now the blackbird’s spoken.

This bright spring song from up above

evokes the tones of courtly love:

with music phrased like sweet romance, he

turns a young (and old) man’s fancy.


The ornithologists now know

(they say) the meaning of his song

I heard it on the radio

apparently, I’m wrong.

His lyrics are no loving words

to arouse the females’ passion

but addressed to other, smaller birds

clothed in blue and yellow fashion.


‘Hey, you snivelling little tit!’

This blackbird’s really saying,

‘It’s not your tree; get out of it!’

Which is awfully dismaying.