THE SECRET OF BIRDS
Outside the window,
an hour before dawn,
when night weighs heaviest
on the neck of the world,
one bird with pluck begins to sing
I’m here I’m here I’m here
some feathered throat,
perched high to be heard,
piping a solo to stir up the rest—
Every bird, by and by, will add to the mix,
down to the most timid sparrow and finch.
Perfect riot of sound! Wild rapturous din!
We’re here We’re here We’re here
This is the practice of birds in morning:
to put the last inch of dark to good use,
hoisting the sun with their noisy chorus,
trilling and tweeting and chirping and cooing—
This is no time for silence.
Who can tell us the secret of birds?
How they waken so early, day after day,
to breathe the cold night into themselves
and give it back to the world as song, as light?