A myriad of birds flew through my childhood. Everywhere, there were birds of both the literal and figurative ilk. Some came by way of stories told by the “old folks”, others flew in from childhood adventures. TAKE HEED.
High above the Eagle flies,
Lord and master of the skies;
Wings outstretched to catch the breeze.
Dad said, “Time flies on wings like these”.
He once spoke of an outlandishly odd bird,
Who only flew backwards, or so he’d heard.
The bird cared not about where it was going.
It only cared where it had been.
One bird gave a monkey a terrible ride.
He dove, dipped, flipped and turned on his side.
He rocketed straight up like a jet plane in flight,
but the monkey held the birds neck with all of his might.
The bird squealed, “Please loosen your hold, I can’t breathe!”
But the monkey tightened his grip and dug in with his knees.
He said, “Mr. Bird, Mr. Bird if you don’t want to die tonight,
Stop this hellish flying; straighten up and fly right!”
On Sundays or when ironing, my Grandma would sing;
“Oh Glory, I’ll fly away on some glad morning!
Some glad day when this life is over, I’ll fly away.
Just like a Mourning Dove on that Great Getting Up Day”.
And how about the parrot that just sits in his cage,
talking and talking as if he were a sage,
but fly he does not nor does he sing.
Didn’t he hear Maya explain “Why the caged bird sings”?
You see he couldn’t fly even if he was free
Because his wings have been clipped for a paltry fee.
Talking and talking like some kind of big shot.
But fly like the other birds, that he does not.
In our youth, we shot robins with BB guns.
That’s how we started our springtime fun.
Some may frown at Robin Redbreast’s death,
But it thrilled us to death, to put a bullet in his chest.
A bird is the reason my ear constantly rings.
Once Block, Dad and I were small game hunting.
“White Cloud” was with us too, but walking behind.
I believe the year was nineteen seventy-nine.
We were hunting rabbit but jumped some quail.
One flew so close, I could touch his tail.
White Cloud raised his gun and picked him off in mid-air
I’m sure to this day, that I felt buckshot part my hair
Dazed I stood as bells rang in my head.
It was then that I remembered what father had said.
I could hear his voice rising above the constant ring
And these are the words that he was saying;
“High above the Eagle flies
Lord and master of the skies
Wings outstretched to catch the breeze
Time flies on wings like these”.
By Ron Brown