1. They Never Do
In times of plenty birds would fill
The steppe-lands with their songs of spring.
Their wild and wondrous calls and cries:
Beyond the earth, they kissed the skies.
In times of plenty forest swamps
Would swell migration paths with wings
Across the plains and over seas,
And no one saw them as they passed.
In times of plenty people gorged,
Their noses closer to their floors.
They fought their wars and built their roads.
Their eyes were shut, their ears were closed.
And bit by bit the calling stopped:
The spring would come, the songs would not.
2. Just One More Shot, The Final Breath
Retreating further through the swamps
And pine and permafrosts, alone
The hunter carves his name in bark.
A curlew calls its final dawn.
This stand of stumps and frozen breath
Was chosen by the spring and stars.
This place, this time, this pointless task:
Unknowing breath of man, of bird.
It probes its beak through frozen crust,
Its left foot quivers, head pulls back.
These movements formed in ancient times:
The last this world will ever know.
The hunter picks his kill and leaves
A precious feather to the breeze.
3. Spirit Birds of Amvrakikos Gulf
Along the shore where the egrets pick
A flock of shadow waders roost.
The echoes of their silent calls
Are heard as ghosts amongst the stars.
But if you look you’ll never see
Again the birds, or hear their calls –
And no-one ever really did.
Their phantoms hug the water’s edge.
Your eyes have seen the taiga’s ice.
Your eyes have seen the dismal swamp.
Your eyes have seen extinction’s wing.
The curlew’s calls are deep within.
Their souls migrate across the gulf:
The shadow birds have lost their way.