Lament for the Lost Birds

Lost Birds at The Eastman HouseTo Every Thing There is a Season.
Surely Carolina Parakeet,
Yours was too short and too colorful.
In wisdom were you made communal,
The earth made full with your divinity:
Separated in hats of divine extinction
Forever.

All Creatures Great and Small
Excepting flightless island dwellers,
Great Auk, for your black feathers,
for your lifelong mating,
meaning you were taken down by the pair,
to the very last meaty couple,
Forever.

Not One of These Creatures Will Be Missing
Bu the Labrador Duck couldn’t make the book.
Were you waning and needing a push?
A mystery why we did it?
No taste, no reason, no notice until
A boy from inland Elmira shot you alone
Forever.

The Fowls of the Air Will Tell Thee
Passenger Pigeon you blackened his heaven
And blotted Audubon’s sun from the sky.
The great conserving state legislature
Declared your flock illegal game
A decade after its final passing
Forever.

I know all the Fowls of the Mountains
Well maybe their savory prairie cousins.
Heath Hen, retiring to Martha’s Vineyard
There your friends planting and supporting
Also legislating before witnessing
On top of the lonely tree; Your Last Call
Forever.

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