On The Flight of Starlings

On The Flight of Starlings

A murmuration of starlings,

now eastward bound,

clip like little ships

through the frail and distant clouds.

From my window, they are silent,

A moody black shape

that forms and disintegrates

like ash on the winter wind.

Though their litany is mute to me,

I know that in their midst

reigns cacophany;

a thousand little voices or more

swept up in countless conversations:

“where are we going hey whats your name

are we still planning on going that way?”

And each one navigates not only the wind,

but their place in the crowd,

feathers attuned to subtle shifts in the breeze

caused by the passing

of each member of their flock.

They must feel the sky

like a bed of nails rolling beneath them,

a million pins indicating

which tiny twitch of the wing is needed

which little tip of the head will prevent

and aerial collision, a misnegotiation

that could bring the whole shape down.

They must share some biological radio,

some instinctive group soul,

whose frequency will always be

a mystery to me.

And from my distant perch

I can see no reason or purpose

to their erratic flight plan,

and they can see no purpose in mine.

In The Wake of Revolution

“All hail king sparrow” quake the eagles who must now cleave to their nests, a people dethroned by the new monarch of the Seed. Vassaled into subservience by the small beaked army, the raptors cling to their aeries in docile clouds and broken-spirited flocks. They whisper to their eaglets of the time the wicked sparrow came and with great numbers swarmed the rocky precipices that once enshrined the noble parapets of order and truth. Justice, they say, and the right of the high-borne predator were both overwhelmed in the mutterings of ten thousand soft sparrow warsongs.

Now the once mighty linger at the edge of the avian kingdom and wonder when the revolution’s tide will shift. When will the great horde take flight and depose the false deity of the small-winged and small beaked?

“Never,” cry the sparrows in terrible union in their parliaments secreted in the groves — never again the tyranny of the mighty over the will of the many.

“Each sparrow a flock unto themselves, a free bird, never to be caged by man or beast or swift-taloned harrier again.” This doctrine unwavering, this song forever lusty and spoken from fluted breast and golden beak unto eternity and beyond.

Below, the pigeons watched the shift in the winds with the mute disinterest they always possessed. It mattered not who claimed the mighty mountains or sacred groves, for the urbane pigeons knew that where men coalesced was where true power lay. There, fat and happy, the pigeons watched the teeming mass of the sparrow insurgency with a mix of disdain and disinterest.

“Let them take the ashen seeds and vertigo places of the world,” they cooed. “The bread is forever ours.”

Let this as a lesson stand to us all- better to be the dove that clings to the rock than the eagle or sparrow at war.

“Expatriate!” the murmur goes out to all our brothers in grey. “Take to the land of cats and cars and trash and boots and live as pauper kings free of the turmoil known to those who fly in the harsh softness of the unforgiving clouds. Stand with us on asphalt and concrete as secret gods and mad saints with scraps in our mouths and all the world of glass and steel as our nest!”