a new poem

flying into eye of the Asian hurricane


deep in central Bhutanese foothills in a broad glacial valley

along creek flow through open bottomland

sacred black-necked cranes

complete fall pilgrimage from Tibetan plateau –

they touchdown with wings extended and a swoop and a yaw


from our p-o-v at the visitor centre along the tree line

they land in plain if distant sight (aided by telescopes);

their choice of landing spot is open and clear

that they may spy lurking predators


this cloistered land nested between the peaks of the Himalayan Range

and the plains of the Brahmaputra River;

this epicenter of Asia, surrounded by behemoths in a cycle of billions:

cacophonies of busyness and survival in megalopolises and villages,

on plains, plateaus, deltas, mountains; in forests, deserts, valleys, riverbeds, 

with landing strips, railroad tracks, roads paved and not,

that criss and cross, mount and slide, lead and follow


this unconquered land, nearly inaccessible so free from invasion,

beyond Aryan, Greek, Moghul and Sino thrust:

the force of empire nudged by greed but unable or unwilling

to penetrate this terrain protected by geography


these high-elevation flyers from high plateaus

must struggle between the highest peaks 

to the cultivated Phobjikha Valley for a more temperate winter

and the barley harvest, evolving dependency on adoring humans


who at Gangtey Monastery above the north end of the valley

celebrate their arrival in annual festival

drawing folks and visitors from near and very far

in devotion and curiosity and hopes and prayers

that their cranes and their southern habitat

may be preserved in the climate of our century,

from natural predators on the ground

and the global predation of civilization


they suit each other:

mystical creatures and humans

in natural harmony

in the eye of the Asian hurricane.

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