Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Prayers to the Birds

Mockingbird, tanager, thrush—you liltwings,
you hopscotch-skippers—forgive us our calling,

noun-bound to be proper, to freight
your pinions with what yokes our weight

to gravity, law, numbers, other fables.
Forgive us our starry quills, our parables—

rook, raven, crow, canary, dove—
our willful migration from love

to symbol. Wind-sickles, forgive us the sins
visited on Icarus, his fathers and sons:

our conceit in zeppelin and satellite, the feast
of false hawks, false eagles. Forgive us as priests

in slums and picket lines forgive the church:
in vigilance, mining the breach—

that sky—for something that will not be owned.
Cardinal, finch—forgive us our lone

hiding behind bushes, spying you out
when we should be flying at your side, not

from pride but from humility: that soaring
force that finds its power in adoring.

--Melissa Range

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