Caged Birds

Caged Birds

I saw a Scarlet Macaw
in a cage
in a zoo
and wished the bird was flying
flying
there was a regular at the local
who plastered ceilings daily
and got plastered every night
dreaming of the great
lottery escape
flying
there was a brow-beaten husband tied
to the wife by rope
of familial expectation
dreaming of her
early demise
flying
there was a young man
trying on a thousand costumes
to net a fathers approval but
dreaming of dancing
in dresses
flying
there was a teenage girl
obsessed with figures
trapped by her craving for control
dreaming of the perfect
skeletal frame
flying
there was a elderly mother
earned the right to be nursed
but nursed instead an adult son
a damaged man
with a bruised brain
dreaming of waking
in the arms of angels
flying
there was an ageing junky
swallowed the daily ‘done
shattered veins had long refused service
dreaming of more
than maintenance
flying
there was a father
who brutally beat another man
under the influence of speed and stupidity
dreaming of life with his blood
instead of life inside
flying
I saw a scarlet macaw
in a cage
in a zoo
and wished that I was flying
flying

37 thoughts on “Caged Birds

  1. I think we would all fly away if we could. Fortunately our imagination offers us some kind of respite from our earth bound toils. Even if it is painful it is some kind of solace. In many ways we are all caged birds longing for a moment to be free. Beautiful.

    • I have flying dreams all the time – they are so much fun (except for the ones where you can’t take off quick enough to escape some creature that is trying to eat you). I sometimes feel I have seen more of the world through my flying dreams then in real life – its very weird but good.

  2. Wow, that hurts. You’ve picked a great metaphor and written a great, thoughtful and hard hitting poem. This poem proves that things don’t have to be ‘pretty’ to be good.

  3. Beautiful depiction of irritional desires within the accepted bounds of sanity! I think I’ve visited all of them except the junkie but on second thoughts, Just make it less specific and I’m there. I haven’t killed anyone on the road either, but that was merely luck! An uncomfortable mirror, Gabrielle, but that’s what poetry does and you use it well. Congratulations!

  4. Thanks Stafford – I just realised how you read the 2nd last stanza (as driving fast – but I was referring to the drug speed – it reads both ways, doesn’t it – I am always amazed when that happens in my poems). I think I’ve visited them all too.

  5. Beautiful work – so very well done. Sometimes it is too easy for us to forget we are not the only trapped bird in the cage, but when we look around, so many of us have cages of different makings.

  6. This was like climbing steps…each “flying” took me a step higher, and then WHAM, back to the locked cage. Very good work. It was amazing how you tied each step to flying and made it be a realistic option. I agree with whomever said it should be recorded.

    Thanks for a great read.

    Pearl

    • Yes, I am having a little flight of thought as I look into the cage (something that I am always doing – off with the fairies). Thank you Pearl. I think I will record this one, if I can work out how to do it.

  7. A really evocative poem Gabe. I would love to hear you read this poem. It is one of those poems that is begging to be performed live!

  8. Pingback: Caged Birds – Audio « Gabrielle Bryden's Blog

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