Poems by Joe Paddock

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Last Bird

by Joe Paddock

From Canary Summer 2014

Joe lives on the easy green contours of the Crow River watershed, a landscape sculpted by myriad capillaries of flowing water--great art if ever there was.

(Earth is currently losing something on the order of 30,000 species per year ó some three species per hour.)

Maybe 15 years ago,
blurry now in memory, the story
on public radio in Hawaii,
how a last bird of its kind--I can't

remember its name--
had been discovered, and
the reporter and guide
were listening to, recording,

its song. I do remember clearly
the full richness of its warble,
somehow tired and forlorn, a song
that continues in me, sounding
down through the years,

only in me: the bird, the last
of its species, a male, lost
in the hormonal fires
of his breeding season, lonely,
singing to call in a mate, one
that didnít exist, that wasnít.

He sang and he sang, and cruel,
the reporter and biologist
played for the longing bird
a recording, an echo
from out of the past,

of a full-throated female response.
Oh then how the male bird burst
into glorious song!

Previously published in the author's book Dark Dreaming, Global Dimming†(Red Dragonfly Press, 2009)

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