I am jealous of the birds. I think this as I lie awake in bed, early in the morning. Those little birds outside my window see the first light of the sun and begin to chirp; and I can tell that their chirping means: Yes! This is what we want! Another day is born! Magic! All for us! As Wallace Stevens says in the very last line of “Tea at the Palaz of Hoon”: now I find myself more truly and more strange! And in the words of Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” §25: Dazzling and tremendous how quick the sun-rise would kill me, / If I could not now and always send sun-rise out of me!
To be clear, I am saying that birds routinely quote my favorite poets. Yet it is not their enthusiasm that makes me jealous: I have enough enthusiasm of my own to feed ten thousand songbirds, and thousands of thousands. My envy springs from the fact that I myself do not excite the birds as the sun. I feel that birds should chirp like that for me whenever I step outside. For I am much more important than sunshine. The sunshine has a vulgar, cheap, easy appeal, because of its obvious brightness. My own worth is far more subtle than any star of the sky.