While walking the dogs past the large stand of eucalyptus trees a few streets over, I heard him again: rat-t-tat-tat. A woodpecker. Haven't heard that sound for a few years when the birds showed up to pound away at the half cut--down pine tree in the front of my house. Do any woodpeckers live here full time or did he just breeze in on his way to somewhere?
This posem is by Wistawa Szymborska, from her book, "Poems New and Collected."
This spring the birds came back again too early.
Rejoice, O reason; instinct can err, too.
It gathers wool, it dozes off -- and down they fall
into the snow, into a foolish fate, a death
that doesn't suit their well-wrought throats and splendid claws,
their honest cartilage and consientious webbing,
the heart's sensible sluice, the entrails' maze,
the nave of ribs, the vertebrae in stunning enfilades,
feathers deserving their own wing in any crafts museum,
the Benedictine patience of the beak.
This is not a dirge -- no, it's only indignation.
An angel made of earthbound protein,
a living kite with glands straight from the Song of Songs,
singular in air, without number in the hand,
its tissues tied into a common knot
of place and time, as in an Aristotelian drama
unfolding to the wings' applause,
falls down and lies beside a stone,
which in its own archaic, simpleminded way
sees life as a chain of failed attempts.