“From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were — I have not seen
As others saw —
I could not bring
My passions from a common spring —
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow — I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone —
And all I lov’d — I lov’d alone –“
“Alone” Edgar Allan Poe
High in a dying butternut tree, above the climbing bittersweet,
a pair of sparrows sat entwined.
Bobbing and pecking, with tail feathers visible,
they pushed and pulled, constructing a nest
from winters fallen twigs and kites’ missing strings.
Both unaware of the advancing wings on seductive winds
gliding in the heat of post-World War II victory;
with bold brown patches and brasso colored flares
flirting shamelessly with all the birds in nesting trees.
Mother: after laying her eggs, suddenly took flight on a south east breeze:
wings spread, open feathers, abandoning history.
Father: in haste, wondering who was first;
found in the chase, with another mate
in a steeple of an abandoned Christian church.
Four hatching, cracked through egg shells
in a nest below a large branch, in a dying butternut tree.
Small insects dropped, in sacrifice, as meals
to their gratefully awakening beaks.
Weeks passed in the aging butternut tree
providing shelter, meals, and summer comfort.
The first hatching, though weak,
fluttered, stretched, and skittered
to stand on quick strengthening feet;
to peek and seek for something he felt, was missing.
Something unable to find, something not complete.
Something to teach him about sky, ground, gravity
and all that scary in-between.
Innocence in the face of dilemma,
all of them eventually perched on the ragged brim.
Taunted by instinct and haunted by uncertainty;
to leave and fly, to land on air, or just plain fall and disappear.
Watching them teetering on the rim,
the brave-born, with a sweeping two wing lurch
pushed them off before him.
Falling! Falling! They fell then dipped into swooping grace.
Wings with instinctive motion, caught them in flight.
Never looking back, they disappeared swiftly
between the pines, the hardwood’s, and the butternut’s plight.