300 years

Acorn woodpeckers zoomed between the oaks
Ka k aka akaing to their machine gun ridden hidey holes
On trees, snags in a dead limb & a power pole, & sometimes
Under the eaves of our house,
Colonial birds these in
Oak trees, birds — a 100 or more in all
& three breeding pairs four at most,
On the Oregon side-hill near a 20 acre farm black&white
Black & white red heads Ka k aka ak kaing zooming  up & down between
The farm house, the guest house & the barn,
& a crack of a  twenty-two &  a
Miss & the second shot tumbles the little flying cop car
out of the tree & out of the sky, with iron peep sights, &
The boy’s been given charge— “kill ‘em all,” he said,
“They’re drilling holes in our house!” it was not too
Serious, but a bird or two a week fell, examined then tossed aside
Years later in text book he read of their nature with all
Breeding pairs when killed or predated, became new breeding pairs & all would
Become breeding pairs if need be, for a steady population
& this was the answer to the fact that the birds never went a way,
While the oaks were there spreading out
Over the house the hillside & making those summers cool when it was
Hot, and the wood peckers flew, and bred and laid eggs
In their hidey holes, high in oaks where a little rot could
Be hollowed out in a spring time banging sound &
With the heads sticking out, Ka k aka ak kaing
& this small misunderstanding seemed to make
No less harmony on the hill, with our sheep, & steers
& a ground squirrel killing border collie, but
Now I look on Google Earth & see the oaks are gone —all of them
The cedars were taken out 25 years ago, &
I know now the woodpeckers have finally departed, &
I haven’t been back
Since these new people fell the cedars—I’m no druid
But the oaks were there three hundred years,
& the woodpeckers had a colony for at least that long
& though it’s perhaps the worst thing I could think of to say, but
To have them back, I would stay—300 years

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