Thursday, June 16, 2016

Spring on the Wing

Female redstart

In a perfectly-timed intersection of appetites,
oak leaves opening to catch the light
sustain caterpillars hatching by tender foliage.
Migratory birds gorge for the night's flight.
Chestnut-sided warbler
It's a dazzle of numbers:
billions of oak leaves
millions of caterpillars
a warbler enchanting, for a moment, a single bird-watcher.
Yellow-rumped warbler
The harvesters are harvested;
they crawl, flit, unfurl
in obstinate pulses of fulfillment and waste,
intricate, vulnerable, inexhaustible. 

Green-winged teal
They eat and are eaten.
The mighty and the minute
rest and stretch in pauses
of orderly digestion.

Swainson's thrush
Melodious. Cacophonous.
They voice their specific needs.
Some are feathered for attention.
Others perfect a song over decoration.
Canada warbler
Dressing-up announces the season.
The warblers pass this way again
in sensible autumn plumage
for blending in.
Black-and-white warbler
This month, it's "Here I am:
handsome, eligible,
sweetly tuned,
solemn partner to the breed....
Tree swallow
"I will share the attentions
prescribed by inerrant Time,
from which we have life;
without which, extinction....
Robin's egg
"We will suffer mishaps;
we may nourish others;
Time has brought us into being.
We obey, and we go on....

Black-throated Blue Warbler   

"We are wonders of animation.
Dashing north at the pace of emerging food
we spark treetops in our borrowed gaiety.
We color latitudes before flowers bloom....
Bay-breasted warbler
"I know that you know what I know.
We are bound to our destination.
We traverse starlit skies by inner science.
By day we fatten for the journey....
Downy woodpecker
"I am beside you, a song away.
We listen to the pulse of two continents.
We gamble on winds and ancient calculations,
the beloveds of earth and air."

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