Thursday, September 6, 2012

Star Compass

artwork: ralph murre

Star Compass
by Sandy Stark

These birds look up.
They set their flight plan
by the luminous stars,
and when the sky map
tells them they’ve arrived,
they land and stay,
then reset their clocks
to that day star, the sun.

Amazing how they do it.
Pumped up marathoners,
high on hemoglobin and air,
they fly over continents
and oceans, often nonstop.
Instinct explains part of it,
astro-navigation, another.

Still, I wonder, what really
keeps them going? Is it
some stellar memory,
or more what it feels like
to fly at night—
for surely they are star-struck—
these birds of passage in star drift,
these birds of passage through light.

~ first published in Counting on Birds (Fireweed Press)