Wren’s demise

ONCE in summer-time the bear and the wolf were walking in the forest, and the bear heard a bird singing so beautifully that he said, “Brother wolf, what bird is it that sings so well?” “That is the King of the birds,” said the wolf, “before whom we must bow down.” – Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Ding, dong,
The king is dead!

Just beyond the eaves
Still warm, lay a wren,
Supple as a summer breeze,
Dead as yesterday’s fires

Had there been some unseen, unheard battle
Between the soaring and the squatting?
Or some settling
Of long forgotten scores?

In a long-ago wager, it’s said,
The wren outsoared the eagle.
She rode on his back
Until he tired, then pushed off
All pumped and proud

A fine example, the ancients thought,
Of brain over brawn.

The eagle was not amused