“Red-winged Blackbirds” by Glen Sorestad

It’s the twenty-seventh day of April
in the year of the pandemic and we are
hoofing along the damp-from-yesterday’s-rain
path through our local park and my legs
are whimpering independently, while my back
protests loudly from some unspecified injury
it remembers, even if I can’t, when we
notice first what seems to be several
dark avian profiles, perched on separate
socially distanced aspen trees ahead of us.
When we hear the unmistakable spring
kon-ka-reeeee trill, it tells us
the red-winged blackbirds are back,
selecting their favourite vantage points
from which to inform the world
they have returned and are again prepared
to reclaim dominion over park ponds and reeds,
red willow thickets and the aspens,
every perch and vantage point
from which the epauleted males will
shout their exhortations about territory
and nests and the short intense summer
that starts the very day they arrive.
There is no avoiding or escaping
the brazen blackbirds, even if you should
be so inclined. Like Milton Acorn, they
are the political poets of the bird world
and they shout love, whether you know
and appreciate it or not.

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