Like a promise made, forgotten,
remembered or a portent out of season—
these starlings rise like a single thought,
a hundred or more lift from shorn corn,
settle like a siege in the lone beech.
The sun gives signs and so, too, the birds.
Is earth now answering questions
we haven’t yet asked?
Why is the wood thrush diminished, the bell
of her flute thinning each returning spring?
Honeybees are disappearing, leaving
their queens. Is it Virgil’s script or Yeats’
as the dispossessed stream from cities
children on their hips and starlings
tip, gyre and volute away, each striking
their own sharp glint like winter sun
catching on the blade of a ceremonial axe:
a bright wide flickering, a sound as slow
as bees wings fanning the comb, groundswell
of thunder before it begins, murmuration
they call it—the sweep of many moving as one.
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