Lost in Translation


Last night the cicadas held a concert in the backyard,

singing Stravinsky and a bit of Bartok,

and other symphonic pieces transposed for insect choir.


By morning they were spent; gone to their cicada bower

high in the leafy realm to rest their voices.

Yet one remained, trilling a desperate measure of Strauss

as a mockingbird caught her by the wings.


All afternoon the mockingbird sings a reprise

of the cicada’s lament, unmindful in her mimicry

that her interpretation is too bright and bouncy

for words of such fervent pleading:

Lassen Sie mich gehen! O ließ mich gehen!

Let me go!  O let me go!


©  dana  hughes

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