Starlings may mean more than we supposed,
Their ugliness but a guise
Hiding beauties too deep to probe.
Look how they adorn the barren oak,
Mimicking so many black and restless leaves,
Remnants, making what to them is music
Against a sky whose blue is nearly white,
This winter day as still as God’s own love.
And now look!
It wasn’t wind that blew them off the branches,
But they race down the dell as if pursued
By thoughts that have no name,
Undulating like waves.
They rise in concert to clear
Our western stand of pine,
Then dip and make a wheeling turn,
Then, against my will,
Vanish behind McPherson’s Hill.
I wanted later to say “flock of dreams,”
But thought it best not to strain
In owning that there always was
Something deep to be grateful for.
—D. Q. McInerny