It begins with upswirl fugues of a wind chorale

Roiling skyward through wind-gouged organ pipes of limestone,

Wild grass harps, hollow reed flutes, redheaded woodpecker bagpipes;

Pan, god of the wild, conducts the orchestra, white oak branch baton in hand;

For this is song and response: moan (echo), breeze (hum) in 3/4 time,

Key of E flat—so Indians say;


A windcast strews a quartet of avian aerialists:

Bald eagle, perched below the rimrock cliff on a dead tree,

Its albescent head whipping back and forth to river-stirred euphony,

Leaps downward then up on the songs, wings adjusting to the songs;

And its shrieking dance mate launches and joins,

Their bodies’ dodecaphony counterpoint to the luscious baroque;

They touch beak to beak and flex and somersault clockwise,

Rising across the face of the sun;


Then two more dancers float up:

Male and female redtail hawks—fanning, translucent tails aglow,

All copper flame framed in sunlight,

Into the eagles’ vortex;

Natural enemies conflictless, caught up in wintersong

The predators grooving on shapeshifts of wingdance,

Wanton feathers filled like sails,

Eagles courting, hawks courting, undiscordant all;


And god of the wild sings madly:

Sun arise,

Peeping frogs awake and paint fill plants,

Rain, come rain,


Nectar, stir from Somnus’ dream,

Green lushen, greenswell


One eyeslit of spring opens, one earth breath,

Eye reclosed, sentient, REM sleep and dreams:

This is how it begins.



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