What birds these are I doubt I’ll ever know.
The crows arrange themselves in staggered rows,
but something more melodious is screened
up in the trees, a colony that preens
and sings invisible to me. They could
be finches, warblers, wrens, or mockingbirds,
some feathered souls who sing a sweeter song
than crows or jays, whose calls I know. The tongues
of songbirds are to me all foreign tunes.
Would naming them be helpful to me? June
is rife with birdsong, blooms, and budding fruits,
with pleasures here and promises of treats.
No problem if I do not know the birds.
The challenge lies in hearing unsung words
concealed within their calls, to understand
the ways that Nature teaches any one
who pays enough attention.
Until 2003, David M. Harris had never lived more than fifty miles from New York City. Since then he has moved to Tennessee, acquired a daughter and a classic MG, and gotten serious about poetry. All these projects seem to be working out pretty well. His work has appeared in Pirene’s Fountain (and in First Water, the Best of Pirene’s Fountain anthology), Gargoyle, The Labletter, The Pedestal, and other places. His first collection of poetry, The Review Mirror, was published by Unsolicited Press in 2013.