Today's poem is by Billy Collins

Questions about Birds

I am going to sit down on a rock near some water
or lie supine on the grass under the trees
and under a high ceiling of white clouds

and I am going to stop talking
so I can wander there like some American
of the nineteenth century who is wandering

through a forest of speckled sunlight
and I am going to imagine him stopping
to lean against an elm to mop his brow

as he listens to the songs of birds
and wonders—like me—if they sleep with open eyes
and how they regard the songs of other species.

Would it be like listening to the rapid Chinese
of men bargaining over a stall?
Or do all the birds perfectly understand each other?

Or is that nervous chittering
I often hear high in the pine trees
the sound of some tireless little translator?

Copyright © 2009 Billy Collins All rights reserved
from the Southern Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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