A Winter Migration
The pine siskins have come south
and evening grosbeaks east.
I wait for an appearance at our feeders
as I have waited for tundra swans
near the river where the monks
of St. Bernadine’s keep their silent hours.
In the deep snowy conifers
there is also silence where, if the birds sang,
it would sound as a choir.
Sometimes I feel as if I have been waiting
all my life for the shadow of a white wing
to glide above in night migration,
or the glimpse of yellow feathers fleeting
as an afterimage of the sun behind closed lids.
And, sometimes we wait for all those things
others have heard and we have never seen.
I’d become stone myself in the cracks between
logs, peeking up at a sky full of wings.
And, for a while, it would work.
I would forget myself, my own voice buried
like some small animal asleep under the snow.
I thought solitude a place until it disappeared.
But, I don’t mean to make this about me,
but the birds, between and beneath them,
where silence and syllables collide.
Poem by Amanda Passmore-Ott
Amanda Leigh Passmore-Ott is a nature writer and poet from central Pennsylvania. She teaches writing at Penn State University and hold an MFA in poetry from Vermont College of Fine Arts.