Sidi J. Mahtrow

Sand Hill Cranes - Poem by Sidi J. Mahtrow

In the nest, an egg, anew.
(Sometimes, but seldom two.)
Then when it is time for life's beginning
The male or female begins the nesting.

Amist the albumin, lying on the yoke,
A spot grows by Nature's stroke,
To reoccupy space, each hour and day
Within the shell, which is the way.

Turn the egg, the keeper must
(Regardless, male or female.)
Place the beak ‘neath the egg and thrust
To turn it over and around
To assure that growth is sound.
Dividing cells; 2,4,16,256 etc., till
A shapeless mass grows at will.

Then ten days into the incubating period.

Organs of sight appear
Followed by other shapes, unclear.
Twenty days and the eggs contents are distinct.
Clearly, a bird succinct.
Faster grows the structures of bone and tissue mass
At twenty eight days, all is complete at last.

The hatchling need only find a way to escape the shell.
Perhaps a peck, or maybe the contents over dwell.
Regardless cracks appear
And soon the new one is clear,
Wet and with albumin film covered,
Wobbly, the chick is discovered.
A neck suspends a too large head
And spindles for legs, instead.
Wings with feathers nestled close to the body
As if glued there with mucilage shoddy.
They will soon flex and spread wide
To aid in drying that which was once was inside.

Cautious is the male or female, parent dear,
That stands akim and looks with fear.
Will this one survive and join the flock
Or waste away as others have to their shock..

The little one survives on the yoke that remains within
To sustain life for a few days more as the new life begins.
Unlike other birds, the chick must forage,
For nourishment of this fragile bird of new-hatched age.

Some day it will stand three feet high
From scaley feet to red topped head thrust up into the sky.
But first and foremost for the parents
Is protection from creatures that feast
Upon the weak and vulnerable in the nest,
Racoons, bobcats, and gulls; just to name a few
Are in search of such as this one, new.

Having learned to walk and feed
The fledgling will follow its parent's lead.
First walking, then hopping about in the clear
Spreading wings in the open air.
Suggesting that flight is what is intended
But for the present that must be suspended.

Almost as tall as mom and pop
The baby is kept near and taught
Parent's wise to ways of man
Keep this one clear of danger, if they can.

Then one day the three are gone.

Did they fall prey to man or beast
Or begin their pilgrimage quest?
Perhaps to Nebraska or further north
The call of instinct comes forth.

Maybe the three will return some day
A family bonded together in a bird-like way.
The young will see that he or she
Is no different from other cranes, and is set free.

Leaving protection from the parents, two
Seeking bonding to another of like kind too
Then the miracle of incubation and hatching
(Not birth as described by unknowing man's communicating)
A new egg or perhaps two
Will be placed in a nest, anew.

So it is with Sand Hill Cranes
And their sister birds the Whooping Cranes.
Adaptable species that in a world
Of change, takes what Nature affords.

Epilogue -

Standing in the early morn,
A solitary crane morns
Over the body of its mate
That has met with a sudden act of fate.
If you listen closely you will hear
The distinct clicking, soft and clear,
As he calls out to this one.
But there is no answer, death has come.
And now the life partner of his
Has passed from an uncertain world, this
Approaching closely and with concern
Looks for a time, before he turns
After saying goodby in his way
To this one who has shared his festive day(s) .

Then turning to face the wind,
Into the air, he ascends,
Circling and he alone,
Like she, is gone.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Poem Edited: Friday, June 2, 2006

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