Sparrows

 

It’s the Spring Equinox today. Not only that, it happens to be World Sparrow Day.  It caught my attention because I have grown up with sparrows around me, listened to the nursery rhymes about sparrows, read children’s stories about sparrows. In Bombay (Mumbai now) sparrows were the only birds around, at least the ones I noticed. So I was disheartened to read that the sparrows are becoming extinct in Mumbai and the pigeons are taking over.  Nothing against pigeons, but sad about sparrows. Here are a few of my sparrow poems to amuse you.

The House Sparrow

Sparrow pauses on my window sill,
chirps a quick note, looks left, looks right, and
flies away leaving behind a half-eaten seed,
like an unfulfilled desire.

I see her every day bathing in dirt,
small brown wings flick around dust.
Just a small bird flying under clouds,
livening up my solitary afternoon.

My friends say, the male sparrow feeds the nestlings.
but, I see her at dusk, baby sparrows by her side,
pecking feverishly.
Mouth of the nestling, open, eager, waiting.
She holds a seed in her beak and drops it in.
A motherly act, if you ask me.

Kitty purrs behind me.
I pick her up and carry her away.

(First appeared in Mused – BellaOnline Literary Review, Fall 2014)


The Art of Mothering

Sparrow like a seamstress
Pleats feather upon feather
Shielding the nestlings
From the perils of cosmos
Not one of them will
Perish of nature’s vagaries
Before she can train them
The intricacies of flight
Nourish & coddle them only
Until their instincts stir
Until they soar to the sky
A Simple miracle
Letting go
The concept so elusive
To humans

(First appeared in Entropy, July 2020)


Low-Flying Bird

upon being shoved aside, the shock
doesn’t distress her, only the flock
she wants to belong, those who fly high
the wings untouched by human hands

being accustomed to the margins
she cozies up with the flowering hedge
to escape the constant jet engine whir
maybe a nosedive in lightning & thunder

flying solo isn’t a choice but a necessity
for the fallen bird, forsaken from the nest,
who never learns the secret of soaring
uncertain wings in the air flapping furiously

(First appeared in Entropy, July 2020)


Burning Woman

I set fire to the memories every summer
all through the fall and winter, word by word
I string the song of a savannah sparrow
staying close to the ground
foraging the buried syllables
seeping through the snow
and thaw them over my warm breath
those little things weigh heavy on my tongue
I am so tired of the harshness
grating on my ear
year after year,
I return to the ground and
polish the rough edges of words
the fierce polishing—the fleeting gleam
sometimes the sparks fly
singe my lashes, hair on fire
this merciless struggle
yet this sweet song of the sparrow

(First appeared in Entropy, July 2020)


3 thoughts on “Sparrows”

  1. Pratibha, Your work is gorgeous!

    I too have a SPARROW poem called, SPARROW’S EYE. published by U.C. Berkeley’s BAWP Digital Papers online zine here’s the link, https://digitalpaper.wordpress.com/archives/issue-nine-august-2009/sparrows-eye-by-tureeda-mikell/ Hope you enjoy it!

    Warmly,

    Tureeda

    *Tureeda Mikell*

    @storymedicinewoman

    *Tree of Life Foundation, HLP*

    *www. treeoflifefound.com *

    *U.C.B. Bay Area Writing Project *

    Graduate School of Education

    *CA Poets in the Schools – Poet Educator* – 1990

    https://www.californiapoets.org/ Poet directory

    Mikell Tureeda Oakland Alameda CA

    *Nomadic Press*

    https://www.nomadicpress.org/store

    Synchronicity: Oracle of Sun Medicine 2/2020

    Patrice Lumumba Anthology 1/2021

    On Sat, Mar 20, 2021, 12:02 PM The Literary Nest wrote:

    > Pratibha posted: ” It’s the Spring Equinox today. Not only that, it > happens to be World Sparrow Day. It caught my attention because I have > grown up with sparrows around me, listened to the nursery rhymes about > sparrows, read children’s stories about sparrows. In ” >

    Like

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