Joseph Langland Literary Trail (litterære sti)

Joseph Langland was born in rural Spring Grove, MN on February 16, 1917. He wrote many poems, which were inspired by nature. In 2016 part of the Norwegain Ridge Birding & Natures Trails was named the Joseph Langland Literary Trail.

The following poem was written by Joseph Langland for Rachel Carson, who was a biologist, writer, and ecologist. Permission to post this poem was given by the Langland family.

A Little Homily for the Holy Seasons of the Spirit

Through all my childhood I
Often beheld ragged sparrows
Flying upward throughout a series of lesser fallings,
Beating thier filmy feathers against the nest-clogged barn eaves.
Being no St. Francis feeding
Among the field lilies,

I Fell through tumbling air.
It is scarcely daring for birds
To begin falling; then grace isnatrual. Bedazzling
Flight begins in descent until lovelier upswinging
Embraces the side-slipping wings.
Then birds fly and heart skips.

Descent is good folly;
Therfore, it is sometimes holy
Inasmuch as bird-natural worlds are an expression,
In ragnes of goodness and omnipresent wickedness,
Of bright platonic otherworlds
And omnipotent wills.

Think how young hummingbirds
Flutter out from motherworld homes
While birdsmall bones, immaculately curving and hollowed,
Find that the air is home and all flight hallowed orisons.
History makes oriols, doves,
Swallows saintly. And gulls,

Through sung briefly. Gase by
The twirling life-span of God's birds.
One sees them battered by windshields of your bishop's Buick,
Pounced on by amoral cats, shocked by boy-triggered rifles,
Frozen through hungers unto death.
Poisoned for plagues of filth

In the human cities.
Oh, from any open window
Bede's sad and fleeting sparrow, Shelleyan larks, the rough ark's
Dove, the militant eagle, penguins of Anatole France
Flee past spiritual atolls
Of a priori soul

Into birdlike islands.
Through divine illusion insists
That natrual flight is holiness, it is no such thing;
We ascend to destruction and fall to the realms of grace.
But if all birds fell from the air
Imagine our despair.

Imagine orioles
Spinning their orange flames toward earth,
Millions of barn swallows not rising out of their dipping,
Odd birds of paradise falling out of their paradise
Heavy as stones and dipped arrows,
And hosts of dead sparrows.

Imagine all soaring
Fieldlarks now silently falling,
Even the parrots and guinea hens ceasing their squawking,
Water ouzels not singing, every bald eagle fallen,
Sandpipers and rosy grosbeaks,
Shrikes, canaries and teals

 All falling. Imagine
These feathery constellations
Tumbling on snow peaks, on green plains and turquoise sea waters,
Cardinals, goldfinches, wrens, bluebirds falling from graces
These rainbowing appellations
All falling. Imagine!

And silently falling!
Even the raucous crows, alas,
And saw-winged buzzards silent, magpies, camp-robbers, blue jays,
Bobwhites, owls, nuthatches, blackbrids! How would  you like to see
The mourning dove making no moan
And the phoenix a stone?

And akk the gulls plunging
Down into waves forevermore
In Dathly congregations? And bright mothlike hummingbirds
Crushed in Canterbury chalices? The olive-white dove,
Despite all heaven's commotions,
Lost in endless oceans?

Oh, it is neither good
Nor evil that troubles us here,
But rather spiritual affinities. I have now
Spoken of ascension, resurrection and death. In you
They all lodge in diguises of
Holy and profane love.