|On a lake 'way up north lived a goose known as Xander
Who, by all accounts, was a bird worth a gander
With graceful black neck and brown body preceding,
Each pinfeather honed by Canadian breeding.
Although he was savvy with most social graces
Like honking while flying or leading wild chases,
He had a foul habit of showing up late
Which would oft' force his gaggle to plop down and wait.
Early one autumn while seasons were shifting
And leaves of all colors were falling and drifting,
The birds felt an urging for which they'd been waiting
And knew in their plumes it was time for migrating.
The sky came alive with all birds of a feather
While mates for the journey were gathered together,
But as the geese stressed o'er their upcoming flight,
Xander waddled and dawdled with no angst in sight.
He paid no attention to plans put in place
But just paddled around at a leisurely pace
Until early one morning he woke for a swim
And discovered the whole flock was gone…
All during his lifetime of ignorant bliss,
Nothing ruffled his feathers as roughly as this
So he sought someone wiser to help with his plight
And unravel the reason for missing his flight.
In a dark forest clearing most geese never see
Sat a silver hoot owl in an old hollow tree;
The bird listened to Xander expound on his woes
With his eyes halfway shut in judicious repose.
Once the goose was done squawking the owl flexed his brain
And delivered a discourse which tried to explain
How the bothersome habit of being belated
Had drained his peers' patience until it abated.
Xander pondered the notion they'd been so inclined
Just because he was tardy to leave him behind,
But it certainly looked as if that's what they'd done
Because where there were geese yesterday there were none.
Poor Xander was sorry he'd upset his friends
And was anxious to join them and offer amends,
So he asked the old owl for the easiest route
To where geese fly each autumn when winter's about.
The owl searched for wisdom he couldn't bestow;
Since he'd never migrated he just didn't know,
So he shared with the goose the best method he knew
For locating lost gaggles (or which way they flew).
He told Xander to find where the flocks all convene
Then go south as the crow flies until green is seen;
Keep both eyes like an eagle on marshes below
To find geese intermingled with ducks in a row.
Don't listen to loons if they happen to sing
Because those birds are crazy and don't know a thing
And don't follow the swallows to old Capistrano
Or banter with bats because they're full of guano.
At the end of the journey old friends are united,
Apologies offered and wrongdoings righted
And spirits will soar like the happiest lark,
As content as a pigeon at home in the park.
Xander thanked the old owl and flew back to the lake,
Bent on finding his flock to correct his mistake;
He took a short swim, slurped some silt for a snack…
…then decided to dawdle until they came back.