Kathrin H. Rudland, Murmurations

Kathrin H. Rudland

In late fall,
just before dusk,
as though on some hidden cue,
a flight of starlings
erupts from a tree,
swirling black ribbon
threading land to sky.
They arc and sweep above us,
flinging themselves up
into air, then down,
the sound of their wings
intermingled with chatter,
a synchronous, feathered troupe.

It’s all in their skulls,
you tell me,
fluid in tiny canals fine-tunes them
to pressure and vibrations in air,
keeps them from winging wildly
into one another,
thrashing, tumbling, somersaulting,
falling from the sky.

Maybe so,
I say,
looking up into vastness
of uncertain air.
But I know it’s more than that:
they move to an unbroken memory,
inexplicable understanding
carried deep inside,
just as we do,
obeying the instinct to stay together,
depend on one another,
soar with or without wings
through this one unknowable life.

Bio: Kathrin Rudland enjoys traveling and much of her writing has found inspiration from the Arctic, Africa, Europe, and the Far East. She received the Award for Poetry at the 2009 Harriette Austin conference in Athens, Georgia. Her recently published historical novel, Tragedy and Triumph, Elmira, New York, 1835-65, explores the crucible years before and during the Civil War. She lives in Greensboro, Georgia with her husband, William.

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