By Josephina Lee Mascioli-Mansell











By Josephina Lee Mascioli-Mansell

My Brother



Red Bird  —  Explains Himself

                                               By Mary Oliver


“Yes, I was the brilliance floating over the snow

and I was the song in the summer leaves,

but this was only the first trick I had hold of

among my other mythologies,

for I also knew obedience: bring sticks to the nest,

food to the young, kisses to my bride.


But don’t stop there, stay with me: listen.


If I was the song that entered your heart

then I was the music of your heart, that you wanted

and needed, and thus wilderness bloomed there, with all its followers: gardeners, lovers, people who weep

for the death of rivers.


And this was my true task, to be the music

of the body.  Do you understand?

For truly the body needs a song, a spirit, a soul 

and no less. 


To make this work,

the soul has need of a body,

and I am both of the earth and I am

of the inexplicable beauty of heaven

where I fly so easily, so welcome, yes,

and this is why I have been sent,

to teach this to your heart.”

                                                    (Red Bird)!




Easily —  Nino could have been “Red Bird” and, as I smile, loving the conversations Nino and I had..  HE TOO could have been that fictional character in Toy Story  —  that old-fashioned pull-string cowboy doll.


As we know..

The Toy Story voice-box was activated by a pull-string that says many simple phrases as:

“Reach for the sky!”, “You’re my favorite deputy!”, “There’s a snake in my boots!” and… “Somebody’s poisoned the waterhole!”.


OHhhhh —  Nino and I laughed and laughed about laughter!


Nino was a humanist extraordinaire.  His lifetime endevor emphasized the value of human beings, individually and collectively.  


His love of giving transcended the essence of empathy.

And to this —  I want to add a quote from Leonardo da Vinci because: da Vinci’s words epitomized my brother, Nino..





“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge.  That myth is more potent than history.  That dreams are more powerful than facts.  That hope always triumphs over experience.  That laughter is the only cure for grief.  And I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection.  And they, whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.”  And from Toy Story:  “To infinity and beyond!


Ah, bravissimo to you, Nino — you did!   


And the miracle of all this?


Nino is my cherished brother…







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