M. Carrie Allan

The Lyrebird

Volume 16:1, Winter 2015
Sonnet Issue

The Lyrebird

after Frost

There is a singer very few have heard:
A canny mimic in his greenest glen,
most take his song to be another bird’s.
Echoing both winged and earthbound kin,
the superb lyrebird shows off his powers
by mocking warbler’s warble, goose’s honking blast—
so well that even seasoned birders scour
the skies for phantom species he has cast
to their hexed ears.
But stranger still, his call
now mimics ringtones, the buzz of nearing saws,
drills, jackhammers, even the very words
directing mulcher and dozer under skies
where he still sings, Cassandra among birds,
tallying the tones of their eventual demise.


M. Carrie Allan's poetry and fiction have appeared in VQR, Blackbird, and Linebreak. She is an editor at the Humane Society of the United States, and the spirits and cocktails columnist for the Washington Post, which means she sometimes drinks for money rather than just because she is a writer. She lives in Takoma Park, MD. To read more by this author: The Museum Issue