The whippoorwill is back, just outside my window at six a.m.,
telling me to get up, get out and listen.
I find my robe, socks, slippers, slide open the door,
sink onto the porch swing.
He’s right to call me from my sleep—
the air is full of music, the birds waking as the sun
slips pale light slowly down from the top of the tallest trees on the ridge,
down the side of the hill, across the hollow and finally to my front yard.
As light travels, so too does birdsong, louder and louder until
I am immersed, unable to sort one call from another.
Somewhere above the clouds, a jet mumbles,
filled with travelers on the early flight to Chicago, perhaps, or Boston.
A car crunches gravel on the ridge, a neighbor
off to work this morning and I wonder,
did they stop beside their car, lunch box and keys in hand,
listen and regret the need
that drives them away each day?
A crow adds raucous bass notes, out of tune, like a man
who had too much to drink and is singing along anyway
although no one wants him in their chorus.
Deep in the hollow, the barn owl’s hoot echoes, eerie,
Bouncing from hill to hill, a reminder that in some places
Darkness holds its grasp.
Pink pales the sky with gentle strokes, deepening
to flamingo at the horizon; Sol will soon show his ruddy face,
ombre clouds gather in the west, adding weight to his opinion
but the birds pay no attention;
they sing despite the warning
of weather soon to come.