The voice of ancient gossamer
rises still its ancient way
in the quiet thunder f eager wings
trying what the north winds say.
What do winds whisper in clever ears
Preparation, patient, strong
We came, once with reckless sway
We set the wild geese wild once more.
Man and bird are strangely one
The goal is fixed in the mind as one.
Motion liquid below autumn clouds
A wrong is righted heroically.
voice of ancient gossamer
poet Own Neill wrote this poem as a gift for his friend Bill Lishman,
co-founder of Operation Migration--the Canadian non-profit organization
that conducts thejultralight-led whooping crane migrations featured in
Journey North. Mr. Neill wrote "Goose Send-off" to celebrate
Operation Migration's first migratory crossing of Lake Ontario with Canada
geese in 1993, when leading endangered whooping cranes on a long-lost
migration route by ultralight was still a dream. (This Lake Ontario crossing
was the migration experiment featured in the motion picture
Fly Away Home.) Mr. Neill couldn't be at the send-off to celebrate
with his friend Bill Lishman, so he wrote the poem and gave it to Bill
as a gift to mark the historic event.
19, 2003 marked the tenth tenth anniversary of the subject of this poem:
the launch of the very first human-directed bird migration, which involved
Canada Geese and was carried out by Operation Migration co-founders, Bill
Lishman and Joe Duff. It was a day when Bill Lishman said, "...the
thought of flying south with a flock of rare Whooping cranes-- a bird
which neither of us had ever seen--was just a hazy, far off dream…”