Growing Bird

On its own for the first time,
it gapes its beak and points at
worms, at maggots and beetles
fleeing across pavement –
it invites them gently into its maw
and waits,
and waits.

I Want One!

is the language of children
seeing a saw-whet owl for the first time and
coveting, knowing only how to appreciate through
ownership, through
subjugation, through
the keeping of a wild thing
in a small silver cage

the flight of forty flocks

in the walnut tree is a rioting cloud
of wings and beaks, incessantly loud
and screaming hate in remotest hours;
I do not know where they were hatched,
by what peaks, or from fated powers,
but I do wish they would head back,
flood the sky in one great gout –
a winged army on the rout – a
darkening branch grown free and flung
into the heaven’s furthest rungs;
but still, I have heard it said,
that men and birds will squawk til’ dead,
In either case, on any day
I prefer a living squawker
– far away.