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Julie Cadwallader Staub


Think of the blackpoll warbler.
She tips the scales
at one ounce
before she migrates, taking off
from the seacoast to our east
flying higher and higher
ascending two or three miles
during her eighty hours of flight
until she lands,
in Tobago,
north of Venezuela
three days older,
and weighing half as much.
She flies over open ocean almost the whole way.
Oh she is not so different from us.
The arc of our lives is a mystery too.
We do not understand,
we cannot see
what guides us on our way:
that longing that pulls us toward light.
Not knowing, we fly onward
hearing the dull roar of the waves below.

First published in DreamSeeker Magazine (Summer 2009).
Used with the author’s permission.

Julie Cadwallader Staub grew up with five sisters beside one of Minnesota’s small lakes, where her favorite words to hear were, “You girls go outside and play.” Julie now lives and writes near Burlington, Vermont. She is the author of two collections and her poems have been published in a variety of journals and anthologies and have been featured on The Writer’s Almanac. Learn more about Julie at



Post New Comment:
I could really relate to this little bird on a treacherous journey. Beautiful!
Posted 10/04/2014 12:03 PM
So beautiful and so well-crafted.
Posted 10/04/2014 10:21 AM
I loved the connections too. Lovely.
Posted 10/04/2014 09:54 AM
This is just a wonderful poem. I've been studying the Monarch butterflies, who migrate too; such a mystery. But people's lives, as you artfully contend, are at least equally mysterious. I love the line that longing that pulls us toward light. which speaks directly to my religious core. Wonderful work!
Posted 10/04/2014 09:04 AM
I fell in love with your poems before your book came out, Julie. Love how this one opens with facts about a bird, then goes on to create an even deeper connection.
Posted 10/04/2014 06:30 AM

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