Wren

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Wren

This winter dawn lifts from the firth a huge red ball;
I’m small
So how come the old myth equates me with the sun,
The old one
That must be hunted down and killed and raised aloft,
My soft
Feathers shared as trophies? And how can I with this short wing
Span be King
Of All Birds, as the song says? In contests of power, size
Matters, wise
People say, but the last is often, said somebody wiser,
A quick riser.
Of course you know that, if you’ve watched me hunting-
The one thing
I have is speed; flitting from branch to trunk to root
Puts my foot
On an unsuspecting spider or tasty woodlouse.
“Like a mouse”
Some books describe me, but it’s inexcusably lazy
To place me
Alongside such an earthbound creature. More like an eagle
Regal
When I take my stand on a top twig and let my song bubble
With double
Volume over wood or garden to the shy potential mates
I’ll impregnate
To lay our eggs in the several nests I have already fashioned.
Nothing’s rationed
In my domain. Big head, you think? Big heart, I
Would reply,
As I take on feeding responsibilities for the lot,
Not
Asking if any of my wives has cheated. I’m still royal
If they’re not loyal
And treat the chicks with equal lavish, mine or no.

Eurasian Wren- Salamanca, Castilla y León, Spain

But here’s the sto-
-ry Aesop knew about me, attested by Aristotle
“Bottle
Over Breeding” is its theme. Once upon a set
Time the birds met
To choose a king, agreeing unanimously
Thusly:
The bird that flew the highest would be their Chosen
One, a notion
Pleasing to the eagle, who soared beyond the lark and swallow
To wallow
In the blue beyond the hawk and vulture, and floated
While they voted
“Eagle is our rightful….” When from its coverts where I was hiding
I came sliding
And fluttered yards above the eagle who could get no
Higher. “Oho,”
I shouted, “Birdies, small is beautiful,
I’ll be dutiful
As your king, ready to tell in every dangerous hour
The truth to power.”
“Yes rule” they said, “Troglodytes, from your quiet den
Rule us, King Wren!”

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