The Parable of the Mustard Seed, the Chanteuse and Wild Rice by Libby Bernardine

Can we believe the mustard seed growseidt piaf
into a large tree producing seed for the birds
to gather—the ever-present sparrows build
their nest, shake down the seeds then born
by wind—many are fed

The French called Edith Piaf la mone piaf,
the Little Sparrow, child raised in poverty
in a brothel, sang her chansons on a street
corner, and once I saw her at Versailles
in New York—who was this voice

in this little frame belting out
Padam Padam Padam, fist clenched
in pounding rhythm, her voice
from across the sea sending
her song of love, La Vie En Rose

Wild rice across the street gracefully
dies, scatters seeds for any of the marsh folk
to feed as it ages—the sparrow
chit, chit whistling over near three red roses
blooming on a bush, three years dormant

I hear the faint sound of a cricket—
I call it to me, the faith of its song
I send it out among the grains.


Libby Bernardin is the author of Stones Ripe for Sowing (2018, Press 53) and two Chapbooks, one The Book of Myth, chosen by Kwame Dawes. Publications have appeared in The Asheville Poetry Review, Southern Poetry Review, and Kakalak. She has received awards from the Poetry Society of South Carolina, and the North Carolina Poetry Society.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.