High in scarred sycamores,
the yellow-throated warbler,
sings. Its song rolls down
and reaches the old man
at rest along an older path.
He looks up through clouded eyes,
blinking for clarity, but sees only a swift streak
of light against the sheddings of a white trunk.
No matter, songs have brought him here
where the rising creek hollows out
new patterns on the land.
Forty years have altered the course
he had known for so long, but the songbirds
do not fail to return. The sycamores still stand
in spite of storms and strikes. Their cavities
will take far longer to bring about death
than the old man will ever see.
He will come as long as he can to listen,
to sit back in the tangled roots
stretched out to the water’s edge.
- Brian Lowry