Scarlet Tanager (m) -- Piranga olivacea, remembers spring in Chicago with "La Contadora" by Gabriela Mistral:
'When I walk all the things
of the earth awaken,
and they rise up and whisper
and it’s their stories that they tell.
And the peoples who wander
leave them for me on the road
and I gather them where they’ve fallen
in cocoons made of footprints.
Stories run through my body
or purr in my lap.
They buzz, boil, and bee-drone.
They come to me uncalled
and don’t leave me once told.
Those that come down from the trees
braid and unbraid themselves,
and weave me and wrap me
until the sea drives them away.
But the sea speaks endlessly
and the more I tire, the more it tells me …
People who are chewing the forest
and those who break stone
want stories at bedtime.
Women looking for lost
children who don’t return
and women who think they’re alive
and don’t know that they’re dead,
ask for stories every night
and I spend myself telling and telling.
I stop in the middle of the road
between rivers that won’t let me go,
and the chorus begins closing in
and they trap me in the ring.
At my thumb come those of the animals,
at my forefinger those of my dead.
Those of children, being so many,
swarm like ants on my palms.
The crackpot mariners
who ask for them sail no more,
and those they tell I tell them
in front of the open sea.
I had one that went like the flight
of albatrosses and scissortails.
You could hear the wind in it,
it lapped sea-salt contentedly.
I forgot it when I was inland
like a fish nobody feeds.
Where could the story be,
flying like a drunken gull,
that fell at my skirts one day
and left me blind from such whiteness?
Another faraway woman tells
a story that saves and frees,
maybe she has it, maybe she’ll bring it
to my door before she dies.
When the one I had took my arms
like this, they all would run
like rivulets of blood
through my arms all night long.
Now, facing East, I’m giving them
to that one as a reminder.
The old ones want them falsified,
the children beg that they be true.
They all want to hear my own story
which on my living tongue is dead.
I search for someone who remembers it,
page for page, thread for thread.
I’ll lend them my breath, give them my beat
to see if hearing it wakes it in me.' ~ “The Storyteller” by Gabriela Mistral, translation by Randall Couch