A few weeks ago I saw a poem in my American Life in Poetry weekly e-mail by Lois Beebe Hayna.
She had written a poem called Brief Eden, about her living with her family at the edge of a wood, watching birds that rested at feeders, with whole flocks appearing overnight as this place they lived was under a migratory bird flyway.
There are four main flyways in the U.S., which many know, but I did not know until I decided to write about birds migrating from Mexico to Alaska and then returning in the spring. Imagine my surprise to find – like Delta or United Airlines, they have designated routes that they follow. And here where we live, it’s called the Pacific Flyway.
Since I have this as a complication in my novel, I wrote to Ms. Hayna, to ask permission that I might use her beautiful poem in the front of my novel if it ever sees the light of day. She wrote back promptly, giving me permission, and I am delighted. Here’s the poem. I love reading it.
Brief Eden/Poem by Lois Beebe Hayna
For a part of one strange year we lived
in a small house at the edge of a wood.
No neighbors, which suited us. Nobody
to ask questions. Except
for the one big question we went on
myriads of birds stopped over
briefly. Birds we’d never seen before, drawn
to our leafy quiet and our brook and because, as we later learned, the place lay beneath
a flyway. Flocks appeared overnight – birds
brilliant or dull, with sharp beaks
or crossed bills, birds small
and enormous, all of them pausing
to gorge at the feeder, to rest their wings,
and disappear. Each flock seemed surer than we
of a destination. By the time we’d watched them
wing north in spring, then make
an anxious autumn return,
we too had pulled it together and we too moved
into what seemed to be our lives.