Photo by Mihajlo

Be like a sparrow, that parakeet in drab.
Yes, teeter on Niagara’s brink,
but don’t be greedy. Drink the flood
one beak-full at a time. Spin off
your clinging parasites and grime.

Sweep clean the world with wee-est wings,
content to be not seen, not heard.
Leave accolades for bigger birds.
And words, to parrots and their ilk.
No need for speech, one cheep tells all.

Don’t flee these woodlands in the fall.
Peck through the winter’s crust to feed.
And in the spring, when flocks return,
let brasher migrants screech and preen

as if they own this place they left.
Forgive their heists and petty thefts.
Enough to feast on what they leave.
Your summer banquet’s in the duff.

Find seeds enough on forest floors.
Be living proof that less is more.

Richard Schiffman

Richard Schiffman is an environmental reporter, poet, and author of two biographies, based in New York City. In addition to Friends Journal, his poems have appeared on the BBC and on NPR as well as in Alaska Quarterly, New Ohio Review, Christian Science Monitor, New York Times, Writer’s Almanac, This American Life in Poetry, Verse Daily, and other publications. His first poetry collection, What the Dust Doesn't Know, was published in 2017 by Salmon Poetry.

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