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Whooping Cranes

By John I. Blair

We stand upon the boat deck
Drifting slowly in the channel
At Aransas
Looking at the birds.

The captain tells us all the factsó
How many birds are here,
How many in the world this year.

They come in pairs or threesomes,
Having flown with mighty wings
Two thousand miles from Canada
To find one final sheltering place
Of all the coastal flats they once inhabited.

Oh, how lordly they do stand!
As tall as many men, regal, white,
Posing upon the marsh as if they still ruled here.

We know that they are fugitives,
Adrift precariously in the present world.
But as other royal refugees have done
They manage yet an air of majesty
Even in perilous times.

©2002 John I. Blair


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