Land of Crane Music

Watching sandhill cranes feeding in Texas fields
or flying majestically overhead,  trumpeting their flight,
I think of Baraboo and the cranes waiting there
for research to save the remnants of these great symbols
of the earth before man’s molehills encumbered the land.
I think of Mesconsing, Ousconsin, Wisconsin,
name muddled by Marqette and la Salle with native help.
Land called muskrat house, grassy place,
land of holes where kingfishers nest in stream banks,
land of rivers running through red rocks.
For me the land of cranes and three-toed woodpeckers
And warblers skulking in the pine barrens,
land of green fields, an earthworks thrown up
by nature to bar the Great Lakes from moving westward,
the place where the Father of Waters begins his journey
to the Gulf to greet the crane flocks every fall.

—Richard Peake, Galveston, TX