“Rose-Breasted Grosbeak”

Read this poem about a rose-breasted grosbeak, how to turn pain into art, and how creativity can help suffering.

The Muse is a bird you lure
with the seed of attention.
You invite, you wait, you work.
She may show up, or not.
She doesn’t belong to you
or care if you catch
sight of Her. She may
even appear as a male—
black and white wings
flashing toward your feeder,
the bird perching there,
taking his time and finally
turning to reveal the shock
of scarlet bright as a gunshot
wound against the white chest.

Not all your wounds are visible.
Surely not the one beating
in your heart. The Muse calls
it to the surface, calls you
to wear it like a ruby pendant
searing your skin until pain turns
slowly into beauty as you write it.
Until the grosbeak vanishes
into the trees, warbling
for its mate, and you call
back with this poem.

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