for Josephine Jacobsen

We stood beside a road as twilight called
them skyward from stubble of finished corn-
fields, moments ahead of coming frost.
Upon ascension, the cry of geese
like many horns, distinct, gathered; a force
containing not only these, echoing
all that had ever traveled this flyway.


They rushed on, over streams, rivers, and bays,
following a map that need not be drawn,
too ancient and deep to bubble up
like a spring, flood conscious memory.
Each carried along by a code of sounds;
the deciphered rhythm of iambic
wingbeats, and the deafening cry, It’s time!


Listening in the last of twilight,
she said, Something has put this charge into
the air. It vibrates, coiled now like a snake
to wait a thousand years if need be.

The old lesson proclaimed: nothing is lost.
With sound vibrating my soul, my center,
I offered my voice, my trumpet, to theirs.


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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 16 Number 4, on page 36
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