A MEMORIAL TO THE PASSENGER PIGEON
Each year, across the New World sky,
Would flocks of birds in millions fly –
Unending flights eclipsing light
While travelling through the sky.
Known as passenger pigeons, they –
The birds that hid the sun’s bright ray
For days and nights while endless flights
Migrated through the sky.
But hunters saw this awesome sight
As food for sport in wild delight,
And shot to kill as ever still
More birds passed through the sky.
Huge raucous clouds of birds in flight,
All unsuspecting of their plight,
Were seen and shot, then left to rot,
As more soared through the sky.
The heavens filled with countless birds,
And through the lands their cries were heard,
As they flew past, upon their last
Migration through the sky.
The pigeons’ flocks were soon reduced
When men with savage guns were loosed –
Who aimed and fired, and ne’er grew tired
Of shooting at the sky.
Dead birds grew greater every day,
But mankind’s greed was swift to pay,
For soon, as feared, they disappeared –
No birds flew through the sky.
Then parties searched for any few
Survivors of those flocks that flew
Across the lands in mighty bands,
A-flying through the sky.
But none did any human find,
The victims of his brutal mind.
Extinct at last – the days were past
When flocks whirred through the sky.
At Cincinnati Zoo one day,
Poor lonely Martha passed away.
The last was dead, her soul was led
Across that boundless sky.
And only then did mankind weep,
A bitter harvest would he reap
For many years, as futile tears
Fell flooding from the sky.
But though their mortal days are done,
The pigeons’ spirits linger on.
For up in Space, beyond man’s face,
On silent wings they fly.