Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bird Watching

Because the eagle, by itself,
is beautiful and allows
the whole expanse of its body
to span across the high air as it

gazes down on our awkward gestures
and flailing and failures. But
I for one, value instinct over
intelligence. Or the devotion

of penguins, the delirious flutter
of a mockingbird. There is no
loneliness in them, no noticing
of the splendor of sunsets. Also,

those little sonnets doves make,
their endless preening, these are not
done out of love. Their fleeting presence
on the thin wires of trees or behind

windowsills--these do not concern us
as much as we’d hope. They are
the given observers, and they never
look too close nor care enough.

And while we continue primping
in front of our mirrors, they simply
watch as new leaves sprout above
and heighten the canopies, notice

the new antenna installed above
some rooftop. And if you manage
to get some bird to eat from your hands,
it does so out of necessity. So we go on

taking pictures of such encounters.
We study their feathers and try to measure
the true importance of color. We feel,
we fall, we stumble. And they continue

flying in perfect formations, rising
and soaring and seeing everything, oblivious
to our daily want for grandeur, these dull,
imperfect limbs bristling with all-too-human

commotion. Every day I lose a potential
feather. Then I find another by the roadside.
And holding it up, wonder how the wind
animates it, this bodiless thing. I guess

there are just too many mistakes to atone for.
And so wide and high a sky to elevate to.

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