Bird

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Sometimes you catch yourself staring at the sky,

Wondering at its amazement,

In its spectrum of colors,

its magnificence in volume and

Its unfathomable expanse.

Sometimes you get lost at the wonders of the sea,

The confluences within,

The waves, sound,

And vastness.

And then other times,

You mentally wander through life itself,

Oblivious of the numerous species of animals and plants,

The mountains, rocks and trees;

And all that mother Earth conceives.

But sheathed as a sword,

In the moment of living,

You wander through the million stories you’ve heard,

Mostly sad.

Of Cancer,

AIDS and Ebola,

Murder, kidnapping,

Bombing,

Rape and corruption.

This goes on for another moment,

Just then, you glide into your own reality.

You’re not selfish,

But all these other stories gradually lose meaning to you.

You remember,

Your debts to clear before the sun sets,

To patch your wet pants for tomorrow’s interview,

You remember your contribution for mama’s hospital bills.

And you continue to remember.

At first,

A tear rolls down gently,

Caressing your (sun-burnt) cheeks,

As if to soothe you.

Then a second follows,

And a third,

The memory,

As it suddenly strikes you,

The day you were robbed of your dignity.

A mere secondary school boy.

That slap! And the slaps that followed.

The mother!

Oh! You remember.

Your windows slam hard on the pane,

As the rush of the pain increases.

The breeze, your silver lining may be.

But then it struck hard,

Followed by the deafening sound.

You sit still, in an entirely different world.

The sounds increase and then change.

Water, as if purifying space,

Pours heavily, down from the sky.

Somewhere high,

From the most high.

As it had poured on Papa’s burial.

A smile forms,

But the wetness trapped in the creases reminds you

And the tears continue to journey down.

The day your life story changed.

‘My Pants!’

Totally drained, while you – totally drenched.

All energy escapes you and the tears dominate you.

You – totally overwhelmed.

Can it get harder?

Sleep takes over through the heavy fall.

You can’t even stretch as you wake, drained.

The rain!

Everything is heavy,

Your eyes, arms and legs,

And your heart.

But just enough strength to yawn,

Very deep, wide and long.

You’re finally up, as you were earlier.

Two steps to the window.

To feel the cool, gentle breeze after the storm.

Then you hear the chirps.

As if that was a sign, you pause.

You struggle to define the big smile on your face.

But look on.

The sight is beautiful.

The flight of birds,

So structured,

Very organized.

You can’t count,

But there seems to be a good number of them.

They look like they are returning home.

And yet, you remember.

Papa’s favorite story.

The bird story.

The one he usually smiled through.

‘You see’, he would say,

‘The bird looks like it has nothing.

No mission, no vision,

No goals, nor ambition.

But the bird is one of the greatest signs of God.’

Chirp chirp. The flight.

Cliché.

Every morning,

It leaves its nest early,

Almost without a destination,

And flies at its convenience for food.

Yet every day, as every day,

The bird returns home bellyful.

“So! Be like a bird”, Papa would say.

Who does not collect any food to keep in reserve,

But goes out every morning in search of food,

Hoping for and believing in God for provision.

And returns home to its nest fully satisfied.

Touché.

Mansu.

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