More Memories of When We Were Birds
Your voice came through clearer than the rest
as if I were held in the palm of your hand
Which I imagined cupped like an oar to pull
through the water when you swim. You asked me
About the memory of when we were birds
and my answer was cloudy as shore-broke seawater.
You proposed a better answer in five words
than I did in 500 – Are you dreaming of flying?
So the answer came to me the next day –
we birds and men perch on separate branches –
Birds are living dinosaurs and women and men
are the tiny creatures scurrying beneath them.
We all trace back to fish, and our wings and arms
are built of the bones of their paired fins.
And so we swim, and so we fly, through the chaotic
and irregular changes we call turbulent flow
And we wake to the love songs of migratory birds
that fly back into our heart lands every spring.
As Horace Lamb, author of a noted textbook
on hydrodynamics was quoted as saying in a speech
To the British Association for the Advancement of Science,
I am an old man now, and when I die and go to heaven
There are two matters on which I hope for enlightenment.
One is quantum electrodynamics, and the other is
The turbulent motion of fluids. And about the former
I am rather optimistic.