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Poetry Pleases: Flying Close To The Sun (Panama, November 9th 2009)

Ivor Murrell’s poem concerns the significance of an ancient and awe-inspiring migration.

Click click, click click, click click, click click.
Before man learnt control of fire
birds learnt that hot air rises
click click, click click, click click, click click.
But only humans learn useful tricks
like counting large numbers in patterns
Click click, click click, click click, click click.

Like a quilt close stitched in blackened thread
the autumn migrants hang overhead,
floating South, down from the colder North
riding hot air plumes rising on the isthmus
avoiding the sea that offers little lift.
Minimal wing beat skims them to thermals
where ‘kettles’ of birds rise in roiling spirals
overboiling at height to a new glide way.

The counter is thumbed in constant clatter
Click click, click click, click click, click click.
Ten raptors counted at each pressure
not numbered pedantically one to ten,
but logged in a pattern of bird to sky.
An empiric skill that measures the mêlée
and notes the hunters by their specie.
Forty one thousand masking the sun,
Broad Wing Hawks form nearly three quarters
outnumbering the Swainson’s by ten to one.
Two types of Vulture form the remainder.
Click click, click click, click click, click click.

If you stand beneath this ancient migration,
awed by the mystery of the avian confluence,
two million will pass in less than a month.
Volunteers each year catalogue the deviation,
falling numbers map technology’s tumescence,
a yardstick of raptors for our rapture with growth.
Click click, click.

**

Do please visit Ivor's Web site www.versifier.co.uk


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