Word Watchers

Sometimes the words
come like flocks of birds,
frenzied in their flight
throughout day and night,
and sometimes words perch
in oak, elm, or birch,
unwilling to fly
either low or high,
nor trilling their song
as the day grows long.
Sometimes they lay eggs
and each hatchling begs
for food and for love,
though they often shove
other words to fall
beyond all recall
on the forest floor
to make room for more.
Sometimes words will prey
on words where they lay,
raptor words that eat
synonymous meat,
and cuckoos oft plot
to subsume the lot
with offspring of kind
in a fickle mind;
the thesaurus feeds
the more obscure breeds
while portmanteaus hatch
from each crossbreed batch.
Mate-copying spreads
in all wordsmith heads,
the words seeking mates
where meaning relates,
and misuse of words
leads to bastard birds
whose feathers have stripes
from the other types.
But soon flocks must rise
from roosts and, likewise,
migrate at such times
to much warmer climes,
the flock spreading wide
to lay eggs inside
new tongues, new cultures,
feeding like vultures
on death and decay
so that flock may stay
and nest in new parts
such as foreign hearts.

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