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POETRY / Big Bird Singing at his Father’s Funeral / Gregory Glenn

Photo by  Chris White

Photo by Chris White

Maybe you don’t know how to be like Big Bird
singing when he sang at Jim Henson’s funeral.
How to be so great big and yellow, and to hide the
obvious human inside of something obviously 

very much more obvious; to suspend your
belief that I’m there; I’m here. How my inability
to understand can help others understand. How
my childishness could be put to use maybe.

I don’t know if I know how to teach or how
to entertain—Really, I don’t. I don’t know if
my green but growing handle on letters and
colors and counting could be put to use maybe.

Please don’t lose your patience with him. Try
and let him act it out, lay down and close his eyes,
make up a prayer, even if it’s silly and it rhymes,
even if it’s just crib talk: the kind of talk we talk

in secret with god, alone and in the dark, amidst
the fleeting out of adults, in our rooms at home
or anywhere there’s room for us really, until it
becomes some kind of song, but not the same 

kind of song you hear Big Bird sing. Also,
I suppose I meant that you are him, just as well
as I hope that I am. Whatever is sad let it be
sad. Sometimes it feels like everything is just

sad. I know. Whatever you think you have, go
on and think you have it. Sometimes it’s really
hard to have something. I know. Whatever you
need to sing, go on and sing – you’re a great and 

yellow thing. Sometimes it feels like you’re a
great a yellow thing. I know. It feels like you’re
just so huge and you can’t let them see you, up
there singing like that, and not understanding that 

maybe he can’t hear you there singing like that.


Gregory Glenn is a writer and editor living in Salem, Massachusetts. He is poetry editor for Soundings East magazine.