A Trajectory of Starlings

They blew in fast to the low slung tree hung fat
with beachball-orange fruitlets, a bickering gang of starlings--
little stars-- dining after their own fashion fastidiously,
preferring the mash fermenting on the grasses
to the firm fruits strung upon the leaf-bare branches.
They swilled their modest fill, before flying off on cue,
from one ripe paradise above the Westside Highway

to another. What urge is it that lifts their wings
that heaves the flock from lawn to fence to tree?
What wings are these that rake from earth to sky,
then back again, that steer these troops of tipsy stars
about the fruited firmament? Where from this fire,
this vaulting flame that plants the tree, that swells
the fruit, that lights the fuse in starling and in star?


And where the words to sketch such odd trajectory
of flight? And then the whispered breeze confessed:
There are no words, there is no breeze, no you, no me,
no bird, no tree. And even to say that there is only Life
would be untrue; Life never deigns to speak its name.
What can be said is only this: starlings swooping down,
scarfing fruit, winging off— God knows where.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.


The latest from america

Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher leaves a military court on Naval Base San Diego on July 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)
President Trump’s intervention in the military justice system undermines the idea that soldiers are moral agents at the service of the public good, writes Matthew Shadle of Marymount University.
Matthew ShadleJanuary 21, 2020
The challenges of attending church with a curious toddler are well known enough to be cliché, but like any set of new parents, they are new to us.
Emily KahmJanuary 21, 2020
Life at a refugee camp in Kindjani, Niger, for Nigerians fleeing Boko Haram in 2016: A young girl drinks water delivered to the community by Catholic Relief Services. (CNS photo/Michael Stulman, CRS)
The pastor’s murder is only the latest attacks in the West African nation. On Jan. 19, Boko Haram insurgents ambushed two separate Nigerian army patrols, killing 17, and slaughtered a bridal party on Dec. 27.
Shola Lawal January 21, 2020
Pope Francis told a group of U.S. bishops their job is to step back from partisan politics and help their faithful discern based on values.
Catholic News ServiceJanuary 20, 2020