Signs

When a colony of gulls come ashore
Settling on the beach, tucked up, facing the seas
a storm is coming
When an owl sits on the roof of a house for three days
And a host of sparrows gather in the trees and bushes ‘round the house
a death is coming
when a single crow bothers you
landing near you, hopping after you
a message is coming
there are many messengers in the world
all with warnings and salutations, telling the traveler
a transformation is coming
at night around the fire the storyteller relates
the history of travelers and  birds
a lesson is coming
in the morning the sky is red
the gulls come ashore, and settle facing north
a cold wind is coming
waking at first light see the owl circling the camp
high in the sky at first, then gliding lower, looking for a place to land
a change is coming
men gather the horses, woman take down the tents
elders pack the tools of living, pack the horses
a new camp is coming
the sky says what, the birds say where
the elders pack without a sound, babies aren’t crying
a resolve is coming
horses all packed men sit and talk hunched near the remnants of  the fire
hiding their faces from the owl, watching the direction the crow flew from
a direction is coming
the men mount horses, mothers hoist babies to their backs
the travelers are ready, and follow as the crow flies south

a journey is coming

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