2011 String Poet Prize 2nd Runner-up

To the Birds of Spring

Poignant the meaning of spring birds

To the birds of spring, to their songs in the air,
to grassy nests built high in dead trees,
to the downy woodpecker, the common redpoll,
to the nuthatch and the orange-loving oriole,
to every feathered thing that shakes its wings
or hangs upside down from a crooked branch,
to the great blue heron who hides in the reeds
near a bulging river, to the low-flying hawk,
the crimson cardinal, to the glorious green hillside
where I walk, to the crisp clanging of the bells,
the heavy, priestly cows, black and white
as my mother’s flowered cotton, to the pleasure of her voice
and the clear light that surrounds her, to the repetition of this season
so I can greet her on a day such as this
in everything––because it is not what I look at
but what, after five years without her, I see.

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