Passenger Pigeons

I'd lift my forehead from the book and see
a flock consisting of a billion birds,
like a river in the heavens, three
miles wide, and forty miles in length. My words
never pierced the shadow they cast down.
Born more than eighty years too late, I could
not warn them of the threat of each new town,
of hunters waiting in the underwood.
For hours they were sovereigns to my eyes,
passing over Mercer County. The sun
gilded their feathers in the bloody twilight,
and when they vanished over the horizon
towards Ohio, Michigan, and the night,
what I heard were not coos, only cries.

by Leo Yankevich

Comments (4)

All the promise of April (spring) captured in a few evocative lines.
The freshness of your poem reiterates that of April. I always wait patiently for that month, heralding warmth and flowers.
I wish I could write like you. Short but sweet and perfect.
You captured April so completely. A very long time ago, I used to delight in running barefooted through the dewy grasses...and here, in Canada, I have a clump of cowslips that I guard with my life, for signs of spring. We have to wait until May for that. (By the way, I hope you won't mind my mentioning there was a typo in the poem re autumn ('to' with one 'o' instead of two.)