Win us with honest trifles

Sunday verse: There are birds here, by Jamaal May

The reason I have The Poetry Foundation’s ‘Poem of the Day’ feature on my RSS is that I get to read a whole range of things, some known and revisited, some that I wouldn’t come across otherwise. Jamaal May (short biog here) wrote this in 2014 and it falls into the latter category. 
Yes it’s poetry but don’t be afraid of the word baggage there, it’s a short, easily digested and thought-provoking read. A good place to put your brain on this pleasant and sunny Sunday morning.

There Are Birds Here 

There are birds here,
so many birds here
is what I was trying to say
when they said those birds
were metaphors
for what is trapped
between buildings
and buildings. No.
The birds are here
to root around for bread
the girl’s hands tear
and toss like confetti. No,
I don’t mean the bread is
torn like cotton,
I said confetti, and no
not the confetti
a tank can make of a
I mean the confetti
a boy can’t stop smiling
and no his smile isn’t much
like a skeleton at all. And
his neighborhood is not like
a war zone.
I am trying to say
his neighborhood
is as tattered and feathered
as anything else,
as shadow pierced by sun
and light parted
by shadow-dance as anything
but they won’t stop saying
how lovely the ruins,
how ruined the lovely

children must be in that
birdless city.

Jamaal May’s website here

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