Migration

by David Filer Issue: Fall 2015
There’s a river of birds in migration…
Stanley Plumly, “The Six Shapes in Nature”

Canada geese in teased V formations,
Steering southeast, following the river
Under fast clouds, liquid in migration

Off the ocean, rain-darkened concentrations,
Spilling into the valley and over
The flights of geese, their changing formations.

What starts them?  What stirs these machinations,
That cross and re-cross the swollen river
Like thoughts and fears in confused migration,

Seeming lost, but perhaps with intention
Of finding safety somewhere together,
Searching out the mind’s calmer formations?

So it seems in my imagination, 
As my own thoughts swirl over and over,
From somewhere to elsewhere in migration.

And yet, these are real, not my invention,
These geese flying noisily up river,
Hundreds of them, in V-like formations,
Tempting human thought with their migration.


David Filer is a retired teacher and lawyer.  He grew up in the low California desert and now lives in Portland, Oregon.  His wife Marlene Anderson created and directs The Imani Project, working with villagers in coastal Kenya on HIV/AIDS prevention, orphan support and related matters (www.imaniproject.org).  David Filer’s most recent books are Housekeeping, a chapbook of (mostly) traditional sonnets from Finishing Line Press, and The Fear of Love, a full-length collection from Plain View Press (both 2012).