Again the alarm is set.
Strawberries, date squares…Yum, Yum.
The alarm rings again. The tea party is over.
She returns to her perch where her wings are immediately clipped by the Bald Eagle who informs her that a bird doesn’t chirp when her poem is being critiqued, that a bird just listens.
“I didn’t know this was a critiquing session,” she chirps.
I thought it was an afternoon of poetry reading.
“Bring two poems”, is all that the Raven requested.
God! What does she know about critiquing? Everything she knows about poetry, she has learned from a website. She still hasn’t really grasped the meaning of Iambic Tetrameter.
The scar beneath her ring, feels as if it might explode as what remains of her Revlon mask begins to melt under the heat of her humiliation.
God! Please don’t let them see I am a fraud, she prays, as she desperately tries in vain to regain their acceptance, as if there was any in the first place; her being such a sparrow.
The Bald Eagle twitters a poem about her battle with cancer, which brings her to tears. Again, she dares to dream she can be one of this flock as she too is a cancer survivor. It is decided the Bald Eagle’s poem needs punctuation.
Again, still daring to dream of acceptance, she chirps that most of her poetry is also written with very little or no punctuation.
“Well,” the Raven caws, “your poem in comparison is child’s play,” and with those words, breaks the strings of her ‘Violin’.
As the afternoon wears on, the Crow caws for her to be quiet as she can’t hear. Visions of Vultures begin to fly in her head.
Later the old Crow caws that the bird she is addressing as a Blue Bird is not a Bluebird and that the only Bluebird is the Raven’s wife and that the bird she is addressing is a Turkey.
Even, while responding to something the Turkey has chirped to her, the Turkey gobbles for her to be quiet because the Crow is cawing.
The scar beneath her ring now feels like it is splitting apart. Again, all she can see is red. The Vultures are circling now.
Her second poem, ’The Rise and fall of An Empire, is received with little pecking, other than ‘Well it’s poetic.’
The Raven caws, “If he were to be cruel, he would say it contains a cliché,” (a cardinal sin in poetry) as he caws an excerpt from her poem (as the sea grasses sing).
The Turkey, demurely and with a gobble of sarcasm, inquires if everything she writes is in rhyme, as she casts a disdainful glance at her book of poetry.
At 4 p.m., when the final alarm has gone off, the Turkey announces that the next meeting will be at her Nest.
The Raven caws, “The sparrow doesn’t know where you live.”
The Turkey then asks her for her email address, but doesn’t write it down and gobbles she will email her, her address before the next meeting.
“Don’t hold your breath,” cackles the Sparrow’s little voice inside.
The Turkey then drops a book on the coffee table.
Still foolishly seeking acceptance, the Sparrow chirps, “Is that your book of poetry?”
“No, it is ‘Descant’, and I have a poem published in this edition,” she gobbles.
“Yes!” the Crane pipes up. “It’s the only book that REALLY matters, the BOOK that all birds want to be published in,” ruffling her feathers with her innuendo. What? The pitiful Sparrow doesn’t even know what Descant is, she with her self-published book of poetry.
Then the flock gathers together, chirping amongst themselves, and begin to fly away without a single chirp to her, like “Nice to have met you.” “Hope you will come to our next meeting.”
No! They simply leave her there with her wings clipped and her veil removed, having been incinerated by their hot air.
They leave her there with her Revlon mask melting like candle wax, sliding down her face, all their black barbs having finally penetrated her thin skin, exposing her for who she really is.
Not an intellect, not a fraud, just a Sparrow, now in the autumn of her life; a Sparrow who at the age of 16 dared to dream beautiful dreams while living in a nightmare.
A Sparrow, who had many years ago seen an old broken violin in a junk shop and was so moved by its haunting beauty she was inspired to write a poem.
A Sparrow, who as a chick, with her brother, on a summer day, built an Empire made of sand, in a land where sea grasses sang—A Sparrow who knew why violins and willows weep.
A Sparrow who knew she would never be one of them.
Yet she was grateful!
Grateful she had survived the Ides of March, and on this day was left wondering how something so ugly could have grown from something as beautiful as poetry.