I listen in amazement to the birds And find I can distinguish in each one An individuality of words, Distinctive as a thumb-print in each run Of notes that trill throughout the morning air. The phoebe crisply tells the world his name, The swallow, French and, oh, so debonair Sings on the wing and says in French the same. Within the depths of woods the Veery sings And over, and then over, drops his notes. The catbirds mount a lyric song with wings Then break off their cadenza with cat quotes. And I, for whom a melody won't ring, Vicariously through them I can sing.