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Where the Birds Fly

By Henry Fisher | April 3, 2023


Photo Credit: Henry Fisher / The ASP


The Earth is awake

with the sound

of man’s tools.

Each one a sculptor,

carving away what once was.


They shape:

hills

rivers

mountains

nature

people


The tools,

they grind,

they mold,

they burn.

False idols

of what they have taken

are forged.


Trees spread out pleasingly,

no tangled canopy.

Brush is trimmed,

pests removed.

The dead things are cut,

little trunks becoming pleasing seats –

all while mocking what once was.


Even so,

man cannot choose the birds.

There is no sky they can fence.

There is no soaring beast

that they can let out

and expect not to fly away.


They have made their aviaries,

they have cut their wings,

they have tamed a few,

but to truly replicate nature

man must open the sky.


Above the hum of man’s machine,

songbirds tweet and call.

Their return to the north

brings a smile to the mind.


It makes one think:

Gulls in the parking lot,

Pigeons in the garden,

Songbirds in the nooks,

Geese in the fields,

Crows on the wire,

Robins of the bare earth,

Man does not stop them –

man cannot stop them.


In the fall,

a hawk fell a squirrel,

tearing its insides apart

with beak and talon.

The hawk brought nature

to a college courtyard.


It does not know the sanctity

it has breached.


Guided by instinct,

birds have little regard

whether they nest in trees of wood or concrete.

To a robin, what is the difference

between earth tilled by rain or by machine?

The worms still lay exposed,

plucked from their daily toil.


Sure, we have slaughtered them, caged them.

Torn their presence from the sky.

But man has no say

in where the birds fly.


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