To Kill a Mockingbird

you actually need two stones
one for her head
and one for her song
because even after she
is long

dead, limp in her
own fragile bones,
it echoes
lingers on.

Sticks will work, too
if you throw them
just right, but if
you’re not careful
she’ll just gather them
up and make a nest
and laugh at you from
the tallest branches,

Names can harm,
alarm, but not with
any lasting venom; if
you really want to watch
feathers fly you must grasp
something with weight,
hold it cold in your hand
and aim for her sky,
and even then there’s a
good chance she’ll escape
up behind you and cry



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33 Responses to To Kill a Mockingbird

  1. K. McGee says:

    “hold it cold in your hand
    and aim for her sky”

    There is so much depth in this line, heck in the whole poem. I love the ones that have layers on which to reflect – so well done! 😀

  2. sorrygnat says:

    lovely – as usual

  3. dianadomino says:

    I love the sass in this. ^_^ And Who doesn’t love mockingbirds.

  4. whimsygizmo says:

    Thank you, Ladies. 🙂

  5. Sarav says:

    Dee, I don’t know how you do it! I loved the first stanza, one for the bird and one for the song..that lingers on. Beautiful phrasing and great surprise ending!

    • whimsygizmo says:

      Thank you, Sara. I loved the movie, and the book, so the title seemed a natural for me for this challenge. I decided before I started that the word “boo” was going in somewhere, as a nod to Boo Radley. 😉

      • Sarav says:

        Oh! I should have caught that–that poem is even more brilliant! And as long as we’re talking, thank you so much for your wonderful comments to “Night Harmony” that was a deliberate change of article usage from “the” to “a” Totally made my day that you caught that ! 🙂

      • whimsygizmo says:

        It was an important change, which literally changed everything. Wonderful! Happy to have “caught” your brilliance caught in that one letter.

  6. LOVE this:

    “she’ll just gather them
    up and make a nest
    and laugh at you from
    the tallest branches,

    The image of her so unreachable just makes my heart so glad!! Great poem through and through, De!!

    • whimsygizmo says:

      Thank you, Hannah. I want to play with this poem more, eventually. I like the feel and themes it has going. I think with a little time, it might be something.

      • Such a true poet! I feel it too in this one, a definite feeling or presence to it. I don’t think you’d have to do to much though. It’s a great poem, De!

  7. Taking the novel, molding it as an extension of your own metaphor – sticks, stones and words do harm but mockingbirds are mimics and can’t rob you of your own originality. Well constructed, and beautifully poetic.

  8. ihatepoetry says:

    Another wonderful poem. So many great images here, and ultimately it all ties together beautifully. Liked the pun at the end.

  9. brian miller says:

    playful, nice play on the sticks and stones rhyme….and yeah they hurt esp if you have good aim…and words they can as well….i am glad for the ones that rise out of reach…

  10. We have a kitchen clock which sounds off different bird song on the hour every hour, one of them is the Mocking bird. First time I ever heard it I thought someone was giggling manically somewhere. LOL
    Great writing Whimsy!

  11. seingraham says:

    I was hoping the “Boo” belonged to Radley, I might have known it did … it’s a lovely poem … nuanced and layered as someone else has said, I think … very nice

  12. I love the idea of a stone for her song, striking poetry.

  13. seingraham says:

    in case you care to visit, I meant to leave you a link to mine as it’s somewhere a bit obscure this time:

  14. Along with “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “The Godfather,” “To Kill A Mockingbird” is the best novel-to-movie adaptation ever made. This is very hallowed ground you tread upon and not an area I would be comfortable working in. So I give you great credit for creating a poem that is both mindful of the source material and a very good poem in its own right. The “Hey, Boo.” line is one of the best pay-offs in American cinematic history. Your ending does it justice.

  15. leahJlynn says:

    Deep twist to sticks and stones,, what your imagination can display in words is powerful work here.

  16. magicalmysticalteacher says:

    Delightful! But, of course, “I” would never kill a mockingbird…or would I?

    Are There No Raindrops?

  17. Shawna says:

    I like “limp in her own fragile bones”

    I totally thought she was gathering the sticks to make a fire not a nest.

    This is a pretty powerful section:
    something with weight,
    hold it cold in your hand
    and aim for her sky”

    Your choice of “cold” strikes me. Like what, for example—ice cubes or snow balls? A cold-hearted mass of words?

    I LOVE the ending, where she sneaks up and says “Boo!” So perfect. 🙂

    I think this is actually a reference to the main character in The Hunger Games because she—as the mockingjay—is the symbol of the uprising. And she is a tree climber, silent hunter, and survivor. So to kill her would be quite a feat.

  18. billy says:

    An exhilarating read about the power of a defiant spirit.
    “one for her head, and one for her song…” what a fantastic sentiment. Well said.

  19. Truedessa says:

    Hmmm..reminds me of the Hunger Games, I am currently reading book 2 and now when I hear Mockingbird I think of those brutal games and their fight to be free..nice work with a nervous twist

  20. Laurie Kolp says:

    De- I’m listening to a mockingbird right now. = )

  21. Fabulous, De. Love the laughter from the tallest branches – and the perfect last line.

  22. whimsygizmo says:

    Thank you all, so much.

  23. Star movie and star poem, oddly enough – from a star!

  24. You need a second stone to kill the song that echoes, lingers on.
    The reminder of what we have done haunts us afterwards -though there may be redemption in laughter and irony with a light-hearted “boo” at the end of your poem.


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