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.
It's a dazzle of numbers:
billions of oak leaves
millions of caterpillars
a warbler enchanting, for a moment, a single bird-watcher.
The harvesters are harvested;
they crawl, flit, unfurl
in obstinate pulses of fulfillment and waste,
intricate, vulnerable, inexhaustible.
The mighty and the minute
rest and stretch in pauses
of orderly digestion.
They voice their specific needs.
Some are feathered for attention.
Others perfect a song over decoration.
Dressing-up announces the season.
The warblers pass this way again
in sensible autumn plumage
for blending in.
This month, it's "Here I am:
solemn partner to the breed....
"I will share the attentions
prescribed by inerrant Time,
from which we have life;
without which, extinction....
"We will suffer mishaps;
we may nourish others;
Time has brought us into being.
Dashing north at the pace of emerging food
we spark treetops in our borrowed gaiety.
We color latitudes before flowers bloom....
"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....
"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."