I lay you to rest, little one, your
body rigid, stilled, and so alone,
at the base of an old maple tree;
cover you with fallen twigs and leaves;
simple nest to shelter your returning to the
elements of earth and air.
I have no words to speak; simply
mark the spot with mottled rock;
breezes hum above, a wordless litany to
close your too-short life.
I knew you only in your death;
dark mystery laid out at dusk on our cold
deck, tiny feet clutching the air,
feathers shrouded black around your
fragile bones, wren-like beak sealed
tight against the whistle of the wind.
Such dignity in your demise, your
moon-white breast so still;
such fearsome beauty shining
bold, shining proud against the
emptiness of death…
…a shining that has brushed
across the calloused ridges of my
soul, awakened me (how easily I
fall asleep!) to cherish every
fleeting wonder of this life, every
marvel wrapped in wingèd joy,
before it, too, is laid to rest beneath an
old maple tree, leaving me to
ponder mysteries of hope that
lie so close, and yet so far beyond the
final shelters that we weave with all our
fallen twigs and leaves.
Farewell, little one.