Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wish You Were Here

A Passenger Pigeon Poem

One and Then Another
David Staley

One and then another
and then another just the same
Then dark and living clouds descend
with the thunder of a billion wings

A mighty mass of movement
The thick and musty stench
The unheard of sound surrounding
the breaking of the branch

"Here they come!"; the cry is heard
Then movement on the ground
A deadly storm is coming quick
with greed and violent sounds

With pole or net or gun
the targets are the same
Though a million are left for dead
the loss is seen as gain

Then away the clouds arise
A billion to their fate
Dashed to the ground from different skies
to pillow, plate, or crate

The living clouds descend
Each one marked with a numbered wing
Billions are millions are thousands
and then; one is left to sing

A short movie about Martha, the last carrier pigeon. How terrifyingly sad it must be to live out the life of "the last."

At Samhein, Martha, I will call you. What is remembered, does not die.

Picture found here.

And Blue antelope. Wish you were here.


Anonymous said...

At the Cincinnati Zoo (where Martha lived her last years), there is a small building that houses a shrine to her, with a bronze statue of her inside. So she is remembered here.

Ohio Mom

Quercus said...

There is also a monument to the Passenger Pigeon in Wyalusing State Park in Wisconsin (an extraordinary, holy place by any measure). Specifically, it's dedicated to "the last Wisconsin Passenger Pigeon" -- a dubious distinction perhaps, but still a fitting shrine in a sacred place.
I've enjoyed these "Wish You Were Here" posts (and I enjoy your blog in general). Remembering the victims of human-induced extinction at Samhaintide is an inspired idea.