Sestina #2

1:

 

“Spring is the prize of the birds that survived,” cackled grackles

The pigeons have no language like theirs, they coo and scratch

the first worms, the first seeds, the firsts of all the things fallen down

“We remember when the world was only ever spring,” say sparrows

“When every day bloomed and rained and never rested.” They sing

And give the music to the mockingbirds, who will always shout from memory

 

2:

 

This is how the birds will know what to do, what’s in their shared memory:

(Except the clever pirate birds, the frigates and crows and rooks and grackles)

But the way to think is the repetition of thinking, so what birds sing

is what they know, and Spring, immortal, ebullient, where the scratch

comes up to breathe with full bellies after so long hollow, so many sparrow

hearts that couldn’t keep going, they fall but shared songs never go down

 

3:

 

“Once upon a time the world was always warm and wet,” sit down,

find a perch on the rock and listen to the music of collected memory

“Once upon a time, when the world was new, and so were the Sparrows

We flew in a forest as thick as an ocean, before winter, before the Grackle

Before the pigeon and possum and snake and cat, where every Scratch

upon the ground was a fat nut of insect or nut of the flowers, we sing, we sing

 

4:

 

“Trees of our memory, forest eternal, we learned to sing

By calling the way wind creaked and swelled until down

came the timbers and up came the cinders and scratch

all you like upon the burned ground, then cinders’ memory

haunt us forever with the great smoke’s ash echo. ” Laughter of grackle

Who listens beside this, wisest and wiliest, forgives all that’s sparrow

 

5:

 

“The simple foragers of this world, the tiny sparrow

amuses and confuses itself when it tries to sing,”

Life is a moment, after all, and all is a struggle for grackles

Ascribing a reason to misery is placing courage down

Fight, bite, and grapple, live each day with memory

of the survivor’s victory song, a hack laughter of scratch

 

6:

 

And the pigeons coo and dance while they scratch

the ground to live, waddle through the herd of sparrow

bob and weave and dance to coo of all their Memory

of Spring, oh, Spring! Oh, Love! Oh, Green! Oh, Sing!

The oldest dance is the dance of ecstasy, come down

beloved, and lie in this fair field… The grackles

 

Envoi:

 

tackle the discarded and departed in all seasons, the grackles

on the power lines when spring storms sweep hunker down

Mudwise, black-eyes, bitter warrior kings, laugh but never sing

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