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Cranes Over Galilee

Muscled flesh of migrating cranes

decorates the air above our valley

twice yearly we watch their squadrons

their flowing flapping arrows bringing
news from Lake Victoria

messages from the Black Sea


how the little ones had grown so quickly

about the scarcity of fishlets this year;

exchanging flavors of grub and tadpole


the funeral of old Kylos, the wing leader

and how tears had hushed

even the fretting newly hatched


warnings too, about humans to be avoided,

who throw rocks, fire shotguns, yell barbaric threats;

and those to be respected, that scatter corn cobs

on stubbled fields, glint only through

snapping glassy eyes


We watch them arrive and depart each year

above our valley, our tribal wars, our fences

and fortifications mean nothing to them


Mapped out as we are between hills, lakes,

feeding or resting grounds


The higher we fly we realize how fragile

our ownership of these merging landscapes,

these changing seasons.  All our efforts,

our patchwork scratchings on the terrain

fading into obscurity beneath the rushing

clouds of territorial imperative

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© Johnmichael Simon



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