Works and Days Poem

Works and Days Poem By David Baker

More in number, five
or six at a time
perched atop stiff cattail tufts or calling
from lush caverns in
the willow limbs—more
on the wing, more flash
and blood, more wild song,
who seldom travel
in numbers bigger
than a pair—the redwings returning this
spring to the park pond
have surprised us all.
It’s supposed to be
a bad time for birds.
El Nino has smeared
California
for months, spreading east
and windward its strain
of killer drought, of
greenhouse-effect storms.
A few blocks away
the factory mill
dusts our own fields with
a mineral mist—
pesticide spills from
the well-water taps.
The honeybees are,
dying out and whatever food these birds
are used to has thinned
next to nothing: yet
here they are, bright as
bobbers, floating the
rich, brown surfaces.
It’s a windless day
of someone’s childhood.
Small wonder so many
of us have come
to sun with the redwings on the flat bank.
The birds, to see us,
must think all is well,
to see so many
so happy to be
here—, to see so many
more gathering now.

Works and Days Poem

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