Common Birds


There are no common birds. Each wing, every song, so singular and distinct. From my distant grounded sight
In perfect view of every one after the next,
Watching for colors or shadows interesting and complex. As the cat wraps his tawny coat around my painful knees, he sees breakfast landing amongst the full green summer trees. He lays his liquid body beside my slippered feet and licks his whiskers clean, as though he’s eaten something from whatever it is cats dream.

Standing in the kitchen watching through the plate glass window, my morning in full view, framing floating black silhouettes on thin blue paper sky, I stop
And see my loneliness lift with their headlong flight.
Do they wonder why I’m standing on the ground by myself,
Or am I imposing on them uneasiness a grounded ordinary life of my own.
Discovery of anything other than what we know, causes humans to name what they cannot understand, or hold or own. Using words like “common”
To name a bird clips its wings away – so much easier to kill without guilt yet worthy enough to count.

But whatever man discovered a species landed in his yard gave him the rights to say it first and name it for his wife. Unlike us who label everyone for the purpose of our lot, in the wild not a bird nor cats the same nor
beneath the another.

Useless to a bird of prey – say a falcon or a hawk – clawing up and taking home a Robin or a Jay
Nothing of nature believes in an
Identification or title. No mammals, birds, or reptiles have to burn
Our houses to wrest control for freedom from what’s sinister around them.

As the black crow flies over traffic to wait for a chip at a drive through, its blue feathers
Blacker than the tar roads or car tires
We make objects to resemble life, as it’s our human nature.
To drive a Jaguar or a Cougar as though their backs withstand our cruelty returning us to our feathered nests
Painted with gardens to yield the attention of earth’s creatures.

Does a peacock know his influence over this years color schemes?
Attracting to the bird next door to show off his domain.
We relive past journeys in the eyes of an eagle, whose wingspan casts a shadow blacks out day light.
He soars with so little need for energy or worry much like
Catching the vultures as they yield to the vortex of wind
Over the Everglades at dusk.
How does the word “common” apply to anything
Lifted on tornadoes of wind and rain?

Or in the spring, through no fault of their own,
Chicks crack their shells and cry for their innocent mistakes
Since being born is no common decision at all, though fate may beget every life.
Still some fall out of the nest before
They’ve ever had a chance to taste flight.

I’d like to think the worst thing besides death that could befall us: Calling one common when our minds could fly on a simple poem just like this one.

4 comments on “Common Birds”

    1. Yes indeed, the basis for the poem. And I appreciate your noticing the underlying metaphor. Much love.

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