Song Sparrow Song

song sparrow
One of the mysteries is no two days are the same,
yet what connects them is as firmly set
as a rut in a frozen road. So, Aretas Saunders’ claim
about Song Sparrows’ song—that he had 800 records
and no two alike—doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to get
to know something this variable. Three clear notes devolve
to trill then tinkling jumble—an ID problem most birders solve
easily. Stably unstable is how a doctor friend described
it, when this unevenness applies to people. Olit, olit, olit—
chip, chip, chip Thoreau began, as he transcribed
the song in Walden. His different attempts to get it
right across years of his journal with bits of words
admit that there’s no one right fit, or so many in the mix
that, as with an electron in orbit, position is hard to fix,
vast possibilities in such a big bag of tricks.

Charles Weld

If you have any thoughts on this poem, Charles Weld would be pleased to hear them.