Whose Spring Sings?
A Fable

The messenger of Spring 
flash plumed Pīpīwharauroa -
cryptic stripes bronze on cream
wings moss green -
arrives from migratory shores,
her slurred upward whistle

beguiles Riroriro’s nesting place.
Riroriro tiny tree dwellers, 
he heard, she rarely seen,
celebrate life in exuberant song,
harbinger of spring’s hope, summer’s reign,
beloved warbles soothe the land.

Riroriro checks the prevailing wind,
gathers feathers, hair, traces of wool,
fibres blend, bend, a nest they weave,
a hanging dome from chosen tree
hidden from vermin and summer wind,
a clutch of speckled eggs she lays.

Pīpīwharauroa knows Riroriro’s ways
plunders Riroriro’s blessed nest.
Unguarded Pīpīwharauroa raids, 
rules the nest, kills the clutch:
speckled eggs, brood tossed outside,
brazenly lays counterfeit eggs - flees.

Not lucid to counterfeit eggs,
a generation of song gone,
grief waylaid, lost their grasp,
Riroriro fosters imposters.
Nurtured counterfeits fly the nest
their song mocks the empty nest.

As I heard this ancient tale
a stranger turned, spoke to me;
“Whose song do you foster, 
whose song shall you praise?
Whose spring sings, 
whose song pervades?”

Pīpīwharauroa Maori name for Shining Cuckoo
Riroriro Maori name for Grey Warbler.

© Craig A Roberts, 2022
From Waymarks: Pilgrim Journeys.

Photo: Adobestock

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