Today we have a great conversation with singer, songwriter, guitarist, poet, and mental health advocate Melissa Greener. Melissa is about to release an album and mental health advocacy project called 'The Fallow Year.' Melissa reads her poem “Tea, Mint from Your Garden” which is up on her patreon page, . I read my poem "Painting of The Baptism" to Melissa (I'll print the text below). Finally, we'll hear a sneak preview track from 'The Fallow Year.'

The Fallow Year is an album and a campaign for awareness of mental health issues. Whether you know it or not, it is likely that someone in your life struggles with mental illness, addiction, or family issues. Maybe it's you. You are not alone. If you’d like to share this campaign with others and help spread awareness, visit You can help for as little as $5 and there are packages available for Melissa to come to your company or organization for an intensive 2-day Soul Session Group Workshop, where you can bear witness to anothers' story, or have your own story heard by others. Melissa will work with each participant in front of the group, empowering values and virtues like Vulnerability, Self-Honesty, Empathy, Courage (Trust) and Communication. One-on-one Soul Sessions are also available.

You can also support Melissa Greener on her Patreon page for as little as $1 a month. Visit

I'm playing tomorrow night with my band at The Kraken, a little roadhouse outside Chapel Hill, NC, and we're having a birthday party for the late Paul Ford, who was our cellist in the band and a good friend. We’ll celebrate Paul’s life by playing, in its entirety, an as yet unreleased album that we made with Paul days before he was diagnosed with a stage 4 glioblastoma. It’s a miracle that we were able to make that record (that we’ll be releasing this fall!) and it’s going to be a lot of fun to celebrate Paul’s birthday tomorrow night by playing it for our, and Paul’s, fans.  

Come to my first public full-length reading from my new book of poetry ‘You’ve Changed,’ this Friday, March 2nd at St. Matthews Episcopal Church in Hillsborough NC. Johnny Waken will be there too and we'll weave songs into the performance.

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Thanks for listening to The Byrd Word. Your fan,

Jonathan Byrd



Open scent-filled rich Christ, light the door that is so heavy.
Delicate pink-flowering lilac Jesus, summer garden of God,
perfume the beginning of this gospel with your Son.

Amidst the trees there came a wind.
Amidst the thorn came roses.

A cross voice murmurs at the front round window.
Prepare the burden. Prepare the way.
At the branches’ insistence, the painters note.
The dim medium can hardly catch even a momentary sense,
pallid, innumerable, sullen, oppressive,
a gleam lying, crying like saddle-bags.
Behold, a dusty, distant Lord.
Behold, birds and bees circling in the stillness.
The effect is gilt with swiftness,
making the flamelike messenger roar monotonous stillness.

Art is immobile, a jade-faced organ.

Motion blossoms, producing fantastic curtains,
able beauty, tremulous and straight.
The honey-sweet wilderness, the one laburnum
to seek the unmown grass.

The horns huge, smoking.
Thy honey-coloured face.

Young and awake, the Lord went into the wilderness.
Years passed ever languidly across the river.
To preach was a pleasure.
To baptize the river.
To sudden sitting and
really strange dreams within extraordinary people.

The painter at his easel. Land and time.
Suddenly, skillfully, full-length form!
Beauty confessing to the vulgar!
The portrait seemed lovely, its sins in remission.
The face lingers upright!
As though to see its own lids.