The Bird


The bird
doesn’t mind

the indifference
of passing feet,
tossed flint-eyed scraps,
nest of a broadsheet

The bird
doesn’t mind
cold-hearted weather,
garbage-can dining,
piss-soaked shelter,
one-eyed sleep in the underpass,
the ubiquitous predator

The bird
doesn’t
 mind
existence
on the streets

He’s just a bird

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52 thoughts on “The Bird

      • Yes, people would be surprised how easy it is to slip into homelessness – only a few paychecks missing away – I couldn’t pay my mortgage for a few months when I was in my twenties and sick for an extended period and if my parents hadn’t helped me out I would have been in big trouble.

        • Thanks for this, Gabe – my Dad always said that we should never pass a beggar without giving them something because homelessness is not something that happens only to other people (as you are well aware from your experience): mental or physical illness or disability, family disputes, unexpected job loss, fatigue, substance abuse, etc, are all possible factors which can affect anyone.

          (on a lighter note: “Shut up, Tank, it’s just a bird” – my husband, to the neighbour’s dog barking at the currawong on the roof, not long after I read him this poem…can you understand why I blog?!)

  1. The Fox
    doesn’t mind
    scraps of human food
    a hole in a back garden
    sleeping on a porch
    in broad daylight
    He’s an urban fox!

    How adaptable are our animal friends, BB
    John

  2. One-eyed sleep, without even a buddy to watch out for eyes that take no notice or too much. Life without a safe haven is hard to imagine, Bluebee. Happy New Year to you!

    • Funny, Renee, I originally had a different ending – “I wish I was a bird”
      I know what you mean – it would be really good not to care sometimes but, of course, it’s part of what makes us human – have to take whatever life throws at us – good and bad.

      Thx 🙂

  3. More and more people have a real struggle to survive, Bb. I can understand how, sometimes, one could wish to be a bird… although, overall, I would not. I love the way in which you have illustrated this poem! Good thinking!

    • I really wonder if survival is truly more of a struggle than it was, say, 30 years ago, or whether we are more aware of it because we are older now. What are your thoughts on this, Adeeyoyo?

      • It is hard to say because we have become used to so much more, eg washiing machines, electric gadgets, mostly to make life easier. Of course there are many more really poor people now I think and I sometimes wonder how they manage to feed themselves and their many offspring. Probably we do notice these things more because we are older…

  4. I suspect my reaction to this is just what you intended: Just a bird! And then I started thinking about what the poem meant, its description of life on the streets during “cold-hearted weather,” and the picture of a dollar bill and what that means within the context of society as a whole and the irony of that within the other context of homelessness. That left me feeling a little outraged at our society at the start of 2012, this morning. What an effective post. Tom

    • You have absolutely mirrored my thinking behind this poem – thank you, Tom. It’s wonderful to see the variety of perspectives people take from a poem: these ways of seeing that are instructive to the poet!

  5. This is a creative way of dealing with our inhumane dealings with other humans, homelessness. This can’t be said enough. Thank you for this gorgeous poem. Ethel Mortenson Davis

  6. This is a really powerful poem. It has touched me a lot. The cold-hearted weather, the one-eyed sleep. But it’s your last line that is the killer – ‘He’s just a bird.’ How many times do we hear that? It is heartbreaking. One of your best, Bluebee!!

    • Thank you, Selma – I guess it’s a poem that stems from a deep and primal fear – it’s a harsh world out there, and I’m very grateful that I don’t have to negotiate certain aspects of it (at the moment, anyway)

  7. This is thought provoking and beautiful… You are gifted lady! 🙂 Glad we connected.
    ♥Happy ♥New ♥Year ♥ & TY for the blog love! 🙂
    Elizabeth

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