Bull Cock & Jenny Wren

Oh Carolina, sing, oh Carolina, Sing—
He sits atop his post, warbling for his madame.
She answers in the woods, behind the old well spring,
Oh here I am, I am, watching the farmer’s ram—
he rakes the berry bush, his horns are spoilt with jam,
fresh jam and here I am, I hear a little thing—

seeds raining down like sleet, falling amongst the leaves
without protest or fame, scattered, scattered and torn,
and riven red, their flesh, we set upon as thieves
to take our fill, our fill, until the day is shorn
by shadow’s loom and wheel, filling horizon’s eaves.
And with this telltale sign, the night owl bobs and weaves.

Come morn again, I say, hello, hello—hello
my love what branch above, must you be on, what limb?
What limb, how high are you? What perch, I wish to know.
Sing out and let me hear, I’m sitting on the rim
of Earth, the sun has come. Oh come and see the show,
the bob white and the tern, killdeer, the nut hatch, crow—

I’ve built five nests for you; the wood, the field, the stream,
the barn, the hollow tree, the view from all of them
is east and west so sun, so sun can shine and gleam
its best for family, of wool and down and stem.
No wind will throw them off, no snake will sate his whim,
and you will lay your clutch, and I will save the dream.

Now answer me, and I, and I will fly to you
before the sun sets twice. I’ve called all day, then some,
and frantically at times, to hear your voice, I do
I think, I think I do, but are you keeping mum
so close to mating time? Oh if I only knew.
I’ll keep on calling you, until my tongue is dumb.





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Charles (Charlie) Southerland lives on his farm in North-Central Arkansas where he bales hay, mills lumber, hunts and fishes. When he has time, he writes poetry on just about every subject. He is published in Trinacria, The Rotary Dial, First Things, The Road Not Taken and other journals. He has been nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize and is a finalist in the 2015 Howard Nemerov Sonnet Contest. He likes to write sonnets, villanelles and sapphics.