Pandemic Poem for Us All, #5: Something Rising
Now, even ordinary walks seem heightened, and what is a simple experience watching cranes becomes metaphorical for what must happen as we go through this. Anyway, that’s what I hope.
Pandemic: Something Rising
Walking the old road again,
I heard them, chortling high
as they flew, that chuckle
that sounds like family gossip
though of course it’s not. They
appeared below rain-stained clouds,
a dozen sand hill cranes against
the sky, together in a flock.
Then to the north, another sound,
like theirs but off, higher, both
in sky and pitch, and if I were to
assign it tone, frantic
would be it. Scanning skies
behind the flock, there, too high,
a crane almost lost in cloud, alone,
struggling to keep up, but falling
behind. And from it came that call.
Here we are I thought. Nature’s
cruelty, survival of the fittest.
social Darwinism, etcetera—we know
the drill. Then, the pull of sadness,
companion of the day, and so
I was about to turn away when
a third cry sounded through the mist,
a lower honk, insistent and short.
And there, I saw one from the many
break, leave the now distant gang,
arc back toward the wandering one,
calling in return, golumph, golumph,
as in come on come on, and with
a final cry, short, desperate
and high, the lost one found its guide.
I stood in the empty road—
brain stunned by what I’d seen
some animal instinct rising
to save the least after all?