A Self-Mocking Song
by Lynn Hoggard Lynn Hoggard

Lynn Hoggard received her Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Southern California and currently work at Midwestern State University, where she is a professor of English and French and the coordinator of humanities. In 2003, the Texas Institute of Letters awarded her the Soeurette Diehl Fraser award for best translation.

For several years, she was an arts writer for the Times Record News in Wichita Falls and wrote more than six hundred articles, features, and reviews. She has published five books: three French translations, a biography, and a poetry anthology. Her poetry has appeared in 13th Moon, Clackamas Literary Review, Concho River Review, Descant, New Ohio Review, The Oklahoma Review, Soundings East, Summerset Review, Wild Violet, and Xavier Review, among others.

Always on the highest perch,
their tunes an airy ornament
to the trees, mockingbirds
often bounce into the sky
as if to jerk their way free
from a tether holding them
connected to the earth.

Insouciant, they sing
a patchwork parody
of calls by other birds—
robin, cardinal, and finch—
a glib rehearsal of the notes
without the heft that shows
some blood and bone inside.

Defying gravitas, they're
nature's narcissists,
loving their own parts
and frolicking in melodies
that other birds create—
their mimicry delicate,
insincere, and vain.

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