The Ancient Modern

I Am Like The Birds  /  Joshua Alan Sturgill         

I, too, am always uncovering
origins.  For instance, just
this morning I found myself

humming a tune
I’d never heard before.
It felt somewhat melancholy, 

but full of leaps 
up to the sixth
down again to the 

dominant — as if it kept
forgetting the force of its own
exuberance.  Life is sad, 

it plainly said, yet
life.  I agree.  I see this
disconnection on days

the wind and the light
seem not to coincide: sunny 
days in February, storms

in August.  Last week
I found a whole forest
behind a row of warehouses,

a little, bustling, oblivious
world of birds and trees.
I thought: this forest fragment, 

why is it waiting?
It has more life than it can
hold.  It should break 

its asphalt bounds,
scatter its seeds
and birds as far as they

might venture — which is
quite far: birds’ weight
is inversely proportional 

to their daring.  What origins
couldn’t they uncover
with their wordless tunes?  

Beneath what we call things
are their secret Names. 
Between, are their thousand 

elastic connections; and 
within!  (I love the word
within.)  Within, the world 

is windows — though
sometimes I miss them 
looking for them
through them


All poetry and supplementary material: copyright 2022 by Joshua Alan Sturgill. All rights reserved.

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