BY JAN HAAG

ART & POETRY - ACCUMULATIONS

INTRODUCTION + POETRY + MUSIC + ESSAYS + TRAVEL + FICTION + TEXTILE ART + HAAG'S BIO




BIRDS MIGRATE AT NIGHT




BIRDS MIGRATE AT NIGHT

10-16-99

For David Manuwal


Birds migrate at night.
Be quiet, listen carefully:
you can hear the lift and fall of the wings,
two notes of a song,
you can see the black images bisect
the retina of the moon,
you can guess their pattern, their flight
their destination
far away to the south in winter,
north in spring.

You can hear the lift and fall of the wings,
the single cry of a mate,
millions of birds flying through
darkness over the sea and the land
in silence, through the sleep
of other creatures.
You can guess their pattern, their flight:
formations of birds in the night,
covering the sky with the grid of their wings
making the stars blink -- intermittent.

Millions of birds flying through
as you stand on the shore in the night
over the glittering, rattled ladders of shale
hearing their wings and their flight.
You are used to rain-pattered roofs, the drumming,
as abundant and isolated as tears in the night.
You can guess their pattern, their flight.
But the birds fly in silence,
swift as the wind,
invisible to the casual eye.

Over the glittering, rattled ladders of shale
the birds cross, tangential to the sea at night.
Hour upon hour you can sense the undulation of wings.
If you lift your cheek quite carefully
you can feel the kiss and the wisp of air
stirred by the inaudible glide.
You can guess their pattern, their flight,
and, once or twice in the night, sense
the splash of a songbird's spent body caught
in the sea's phosphorescence.




BIRDS MIGRATE AT NIGHT II

10-16-99


I lie awake in the night imagining the terrible
lives of others;

I roam from class to class admiring the complexity of each
study, jargon, field;

I look at the blue sky ringed with the green-turning-red
of autumnal trees;

I perceive patterned layers, patterned sets of meaning in the simplicity
of unobstructed space

and I wonder the primordial dream:

down from the sky to the earth,
down from the air, the soil, the water, the creatures

into the molecules, the particles, the neutrinos, the quarks,
the dust of galaxies and electrons,

vision upon speculative vision oozes up floating
enchantment, elegance

earthquakes, eruptions, hurricanes, wars,
with and without massacres --

I see pussy willows, with and without their fur --
will life yield its meaning to me?




BIRDS MIGRATE AT NIGHT III

10-17-99


Songbirds migrate at night,
sea birds by day.
Night birds navigate by the stars,
day birds, at least partly, by the sun,
the pre-fractal line of the shore,
swiftly.

The tern, arctic terns, sea swallows
fly from the Arctic to the Antarctic,
and return again in summer.
They fly both hemispheres,
the Old World and the New,
swiftly.

There's a longitudinal division,
they fly up and down, not
round and round. Do they meet
on snow-covered ice? Are they tempted
by other landscapes, different shores?
Swiftly

brought back within the fold?
Magnetic lines, they say, are also
perceived by birds
who once walked upon the earth
as dinosaurs. Archaeopteryx from Germany
swiftly,

by all accounts, a dino-bird,
squashed and fossilized
tells us a lot about being
one thing and becoming something else.
Have hope, anxious humans, it may happen
swiftly.




BIRDS MIGRATE AT NIGHT IV

10-17-99

For June Wayne


Archaeopteryx, perhaps you didn't
migrate at all. Found only in the limestone
of Solnhofen, smaller than a crow,
we can't even tell if you
flew.

We can't tell who created you.
Hop along the life-line, link by link.
Dig up clues in the chinks
gouged by lithographic stones
flying

to record, the eye's precision
and the hand's talent,
to exhume the connection
between the seed and the womb
flown

through color and subtlety,
etched, flooded with ink,
pressed, pressed as that
ancient bird, caught, did not
fly

again, but steadfast,
since the Jurassic, waited
to be quarried, queried,
read into the record before we
flee.

Archaeopteryx,
clue along the highway, flyway,
corridor,
such is the history of
flight.




BIRDS MIGRATE AT NIGHT V

6-24-00

For Lenore Tawney



Was she bird-like?
     She was small,
           almost dwarfish,
                        quick,
                            smart,
                                quiet.
                                     Soaring 
                                          high, 
                                               she lived   
                                                      in rain clouds        
                                                                 in secret
                                                             drawers 
                                                     of the heart,
                                           in vast strings, 
                                        geometric,
                       sorted out, pulled taut.
                  she dwelt at crossings.
             migrated through storms


with
stones
in her beak,
white stones,
polished stones,
curious carved artifacts,
bleached and studied bones.
Her small tough wings penetrated
the roiling density of thunderheads.

As a child, she invented: migrations
of the heart, of the soul, of the body.

Now, she pirouetted toward death,
feeling with her fingertips, having sent
her eyes to explore the darkest warmth
-- friendly, welcoming, waiting -- willing
to wait for years for illumination,
to migrate, bird-like,
at night









Copyright © 2002 through 2015 Jan Haag
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Jan Haag may be reached via e-mail: jjhaag@gmail.com






THE OCTOBER POEMS

ALPHABETICAL INDEX

POETRY FORMS USED IN ENGLISH





BY JAN HAAG

ART & POETRY - ACCUMULATIONS

POETRY + MUSIC + ESSAYS + TRAVEL + FICTION + TEXTILE ART

INTRODUCTION + HAAG'S BIO



21st CENTURY ART, C.E. - B.C., A Context