The Caged Bird

 

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We are perfect pagans, we look at a bird
In a cage, with beautiful plumage
And look the other way. It seems we don’t see
The cage. Only a bird as ugly as a devil worshipper
In a black garment, a corvid of an unknown
Degree of grotesque stitch.

We are oblivious of care. Empathy is as far
As the stars, as little as a little speckles in the night sky.
We don’t see nebulas become supernovas.
The life of a star in beneath us. We are the superlatives
Of apathy, smoking cigars on armchairs.
Judgement is our tongue of choice.

Love is as strange as a dead valley
The Atacama desert or life in Mars and evaporation is the time-drain
Of losing what God impregnated in us
We are as stupid as the dodos that once
Ruled little islands and gathered only
The strangest fruit. The fruit of self-obsession
Pulp as ripe as a mango that can only feed one mouth at a time.

Apathy is the man on the mirror, the narcissist
That pulls the plug of love. It is the abyss of all depths.
The hell of all dungeons. When we lose empathy
We are stupid as the Giant Pandas that eat bamboo shoots.
The tall bamboo that falls over to the mediocrity
Of the common folk. Commoner is
Just a man, searching for a heart, on the streets
Of Calcutta. Love was a little flower to pick by the roadside.

The caged bird will feed on Xanax seeds
And chip away his lifetime.
Cage will wear him down and one day
The heart that was supposed to melt in love
Will shatter to an anoxic death. Infarction
Is a little traffic in a tiniest artery that bombs
A little enclave called a plaque.

We are only as big as the shoes we wear and
The stickers on our backs. We only wear size 8s
And slogans are just pacifiers of self.
Love is a bleak land, a wasteland, where no
Sapling will ever grow.

And through the cage, the bird looks, as bewildered
As a child in a science museum. Freedom
Is as lonely as the caged heart. We are all trapped
In our own dimensions, our own dynamics. The bars
That hold us back from empathy.

Love is no science, it is just a liberal art.
Making sense of it, doesn’t mean reading Shakespeare
Or breaking through a poem few understand.
Love is just wearing someone else’s shoes – perhaps even cap
And saying, how wonderful his world is.

And love when practiced gives you a fit-on
That very few endure. And how wonderful is the walk of life
Of that bird in the cage, who recites poem after poem
Survival is not the Xanax feed, it is song of a bard
That usually gets lost to the noise of prejudice.

A backyard of love is useless. Only a front yard
With an open gate will make breeding grounds
Of picket fences. Self has two fixes – ish and less.
And Love is one rare occasion, less is more.

 

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Published by

meandererworld (Dilantha Gunawardana)

Dr Dilantha Gunawardana is a molecular biologist, who graduated from the University of Melbourne. He moonlights as a poet. Dilantha wrote his first poem at the ripe age of 32 and now has more than 1700 poems on his blog. His poems have been accepted/published in Forage, Kitaab, Eastlit, American Journal of Poetry and Ravens Perch, among others. He was also awarded the prize for "The emerging writer of the year - 2016" in the Godage National Literary Awards, Sri Lanka for his first collection of poems (Kite Dreams – A Sarasavi Publication), while being shortlisted for the poetry prize. Dilantha is a dual citizen of Sri Lanka and Australia, and shares his experiences from two different cultures. He blogs at - https://meandererworld. wordpress.com/

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