Oliver de la Paz


At dawn, they’re within earshot.
They furl and unfurl. They glisten and shimmer,
radiantly tethered to the air.
They are out of reach. They are measured bursts, feather and lurch.
Then it’s to tree stem, to stump. Then it’s leaf to leaf and mouth
to song. They are song to sun and sun to dawn.
Dawn, they flutter up and out to assemble and reassemble what the sky
They are ingenious and distant. A kind of loving
trill, they give and feel. They feel and ring.
Vast‹they are vast and lonely. Lovely but measured,
they hurt to watch. Curving and lifting . . .
they fail to say, to do otherwise.
Otherwise, will the leaf sing? Will they hang and quiver?
Begin the million things left to do? Will they green and reel?
Are they part of the topspin? The angle and hour?
I thought the swell of music is sister to the lisp of the wind.
I thought there was an answer in all this, there was a story
and the light modified the story. They never come this way
after all is said and done. They preen and feel. They have such
their world so small. Like sleep without a god. Like a blossom
or a hum. They are hungry and they flurry.

Oliver de la Paz
Poem, copyright © 2004 by Oliver de la Paz
Appearing on From the Fishouse with permission
Audio file, copyright © 2004, From the Fishouse