Sunday, February 6, 2022

The Arrow-Stork Fable

No one ever lives too long,
If by too long you mean all
That long. No one ever lives

All that long, but some of us
Live long after we could have
Been gone, which could be too long.

Do you know the history
Of Pfeilstorch, the arrow-stork?
He didn’t live all that long,

But maybe for him too long.
Raised from an egg in Europe,
He flew south to Africa,

In the common course of things
For storks. But in Africa,
Someone speared him in the neck.

He might have died for a meal,
But the blade missed his windpipe.
He escaped and sort of healed,

And when, in the common course
Of things for storks, the time came
To head back up north, he flew.

The story of his noble,
Heroic recovery
Would have remained unknown, but

In Mecklenburg, Germany,
Someone shot him down again,
With a rifle, killing him,

Whereupon they discovered
The arrow lodged in his neck,
Which some worthy professor

Identified as Central
African. Now Pfeilstorch’s corpse
Stands, stuffed in a museum.

No one ever lives that long,
But some do live too long for
Them, becoming stories, then.

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