The Starlings

This entry is part 24 of 37 in the series Bridge to Nowhere: poems at mid-life


Today was no longer fall, but fly,
with high winds & a fast
traffic of clouds. Now that
it’s almost still, the birds are making
strange noises in their sleep,
like fragments of car alarms,
& I remember the forest floor startling up
on iridescent wings & streaming
through the branches, a rush
hour crowd, & the dark road
they unfurled across the sky.

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6 Replies to “The Starlings”

  1. You’ve managed to recast and make so striking, even beautiful, something that typically drives me crazy: the onslaught of the starlings. And this: “Today was no longer fall, but fly, with high winds & a fast traffic of clouds.” A line to savor and memorize. No longer fall, but fly. Ah, one of those lines of yours I sorta kinda wish I had written. I have a new favorite Bonta poem. Thanks, Dave.

    1. Hey, I’m glad you liked that! I’m so often unsure of these poems I throw together late at night, under a self-imposed deadline to post something, anything! before midnight. We don’t get icterid flocks up here on the mountain all too often, so haven’t had the luxury of growing tired of them. This poem started out being about grackles, but as more and more urban imagery crept in, I decided they had to be starlings, instead. Poetic licence and all.

  2. Satisfying! High winds and (car) alarms before stasis and silence: late autumn is poetry season. I posted McGrath’s Beyond the Red River in the reading rooms this week:

    Now the long freight of autumn goes smoking out of the land./My possibles are all packed up, but still I do not leave./I am happy enough here, where Dakota drifts wild in the universe,/Where the prairie is starting to shake in the surf of the winter dark.

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