Some Words on Birds and Borders

Apr 10, 2020

Today’s poem is “Some Words on Birds and Borders” by Dennis Camire. Dennis teaches writing at Central Maine Community College and at the University of Maine at Augusta. He also edits the poetry series for The Mainer. Born and raised in Biddeford, he currently lives in an A-frame in West Paris Maine.

He writes: “I’m not sure if a specific incident inspired this poem. All I know is that all birds, to me, are beautiful and, hence, a form of grace as they enter our air space. I’m also fascinated by how birds are often still found residing in war zones so these lovely creatures, in a sense, might be our unheralded ‘pilgrims of peace’ or practitioners of a movement I’ll call ‘beauty without borders.’”

Some Words on Birds and Borders
by Dennis Camire

Let’s praise all the world’s birds
unconcerned with shots and passports
as they cross disputed borders
then refuse to seek permission to

touch down on the river’s moonlit landing strip.
And let’s sing of those crazy, Canadian geese
violating North American Trade agreements
as their bellies import unknown grains

and they don’t stop for the bomb
and pot sniffing dogs.
And see how a single winged being
is yet to heed a “no fly zone”

between this and that warring country
where one general notes
“soldiers turn into amateur birders
watching over no man’s land”

where grouse seek spouses
Along mine-laced gravel roads
And falcons let their young fly over
the steel trees of anti-aircraft artillery.

And Imagine, now,
the seeds of peace being sown
by the peacock caught
between the troops’ cross-fire

or by the mother cardinal nesting
in a tree overlooking the killing fields;
and you–birder of words–
unsure if you can fly into

the altitudes of this altruism
where flocks of hopeful thoughts
are flushed from the single thrush
admired through the sniper’s scope,

when did the b-52 of blue heron

ever fail to land, into the pond,
anything but beauty’s bomb?

Poem copyright ©2017 by Dennis Camire. Reprinted from Combed by Crows, Deerbook Editions, 2017, by permission of Dennise Camire.