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Recorded for Poem-a-Day March 4, 2019.
About this Poem 

“‘Meadowlark' is atypical of my work: my poetry often rhymes or employs strict metrical forms and syllabics. There are lingering hints here of earlier drafts ('park' / 'Meadowlark,' 'done' / 'sun'), but something about the content drove me against my usual tendencies to control and fashion things so carefully. In the end, I'm glad that the poem remains primarily about language, that it hinges on a single, fragile word, bearing the name of a bird and a weapon. And my brother (very much still alive, thankfully) told me he loves the poem."
—David J. Daniels

Meadowlark

My brother, wanting to off himself,
Took rope into a summer park.
 
Rope, plus a knife
For cutting it: a serrated hawkbill,
 
Cushioned grip, with two-inch
Curved, ignoble blade
 
The manufacturers in their cruelty call
A lightweight
 
Meadowlark. Cruel because the meadowlark
Is calm. They’re calm
 
This morning. Sure, they shaggle the corn a bit,
But otherwise, when they’re done,
 
They perch on the fence in the golden sun,
Heads down as if they’re sleeping.

Copyright © 2019 by David J. Daniels. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 4, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2019 by David J. Daniels. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 4, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

David J. Daniels

David J. Daniels

David J. Daniels is the author of _Clean_ (Four Way Books, 2014), winner of the Four Way Books Intro Prize, and a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Lambda Literary Award.