among the fallen leaves,
will lie indistinguishable, each with his song
locked in his throat.
The large, unable to climb, to soar,
will invisibly die in their high places,
which only the few sure-footed among you could scale.
Only the tame, safe in your cages, will for a time, survive.
We have, it would seem, outlived our purpose,
whose strokes in the sky taught you symbols
to preserve what you thought.
In those days, we seemed lines drawn by a wise god
as we flew, flocked,
presaging more than a change in season.
Each savior in turn had his holy bird,
his practical, heavenly messenger descending
to peck a seed from the ear or to seal some voice as divine.
We, who announced the birth of each sun,
who once were, to the discoverer,
true sign of the unseen,
longed-for land ahead, now may announce no new thing
save this darkness
which we, at your bidding, must enter.
We fall, as pit-birds fell, silent.
Their silence was always clear warning to you to turn back.
But you, hacking at shadows, still fail to hear us though we
cease to sing.