Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ode to a Starling

You arrived in 1890,
back east by some newcomer
who longed for the familiar,
your numbers like the stars on your back
- homesickness will do that

But you never had a choice,
you just arrived with nothing
to do but live your life,
set sail your stubby form
for the endless spaces
that never heard the whir
of your wings or the chuckle in your song

You did nothing but push your neighbours
from their nests, heaved them onto
the lawns for the crows
All this because you could
and nothing to stop you,
and yes, much maligned to be sure
but most would not grieve for you

Once as a boy, a kid next door hung you
by your neck until you fell
headless and spoiled to the dank earth,
this was in 1964 when the world came out
swinging at its own shadows

And now I hear you with your
book of melodies - that red-tailed hawk
and steller's jay, a flicker, and of course
your pops and whistles and clicks
like a circus in your throat

And when the sun catches
you in a moment's idleness, before
you and your brothers fall like cinders
upon the vineyards, I see the Universe
etched by some fine hand
that thought you worthy of loveliness

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