Seven years
& standing alone
in the thick brown reeds
of an afternoon marsh
I came across
& cradling my burden
in youth-thin arms
walked slowly back
to the faded barn

The yellow straw
turned crimson
as the duck lay
quite still, not moving
Tall & all-knowing
my uncle glanced away
& said “She won’t
live long, son–”

I hugged my friend
the cool stately feathers
so real to a city boy’s touch
rocking & repeating
“Don’t die please
God save my bird
I know you can”
stroking the limp body
until I knew…

At seven though,
it hardly seemed
that boys
like birds of heaven
were ever meant
to fall


Much of what we learn and eventually become conscious of occurs through encounters with nature. Who can forget the moment one realized that all life dies or one day ‘falls’? There, too, may occur those moments of disillusionment which may be associated with beliefs we have been brought up with, which have to be reconciled with the facts of our personal experience.

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