A paper crane


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Illustration by Paul A. JohnsgardPoem by Norma Wilson
Illustration by Paul A. Johnsgard

Sandhill cranes fly up
as the coral sun rises.
At Platte River
a roar of voices
surrounds us.
Migrating cranes
are standing in pools
at the edge of the marsh.
One on tiptoes
lifts up with the
heft of wings.
Another dances
but not for us.
When they see us
moving through grasses,
they lift and fly.
We trumpet to say hello—-
one lone crane trills back in reply.
Bluestem and Indian grass shine.
All of us happy this morning
to be alive.

The afternoon cranes descend
on corn stubble fields.
Each gliding slowly down
to land on two feet.
With caps of red,
they bend gray backs,
eating insects and corn.
Some fluff feathers,
leaping up
to defend their places.

As evening falls we wait
with a flock like us
at the old railroad bridge
above the river.
Four boys arrive
speaking Japanese.
We’ve come
from all directions
to crane our necks
and listen.
Down by the riverside
as night falls
we silently ask
ancient birds
teach us to live in peace
on this earth.



Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

Lovely. Thank you Norma.

Immigration in Nebraska