They choose the hour; they’re circling overhead;
Migrating birds conspicuously migrate
In fluctuating clouds, recoil and gyrate,
Obedient to the exhortations they’ve read.
The oratory of vectors calls their route,
Fixing the course by Earth’s magnetic field;
By what array does our sixth sense compute?
Ability is evident, machinery concealed.
We’re kin to fish, unqualified among birds
Whose stars beneath the skin embody points of reference
That come to us mere clouded points of reverence —
Intuition, aura, less than assured.
So that our premonitions float as vestiges;
Senses’ weak analogies combine
Alarms of un-triangulated messages —
The words of waves from our lost lateral line.
And what could any avian leader impart
To followers who fail, sensorless and witless,
To lift off from the lakebed of the witness
And circle helplessly, ignorant of the chart.
NOTE for Students of English
Lateral line – A sense organ in fish based on rows of sensors along the sides, used to avoid collisions and to detect depth, water pressure, prey, predators, and current movement.