0051 The Blackbird Of Truth

Waiting for the train, listening
to the blackbird singing
across the railway line
I whistled a musical game with it
of call and response,
variations, show-off riffs;

the blackbird listened,
held its head a little to one side,
crisply hopped onto the iron rail
and I thought myself mighty clever

as we played our musical game, and
it flew across the line, a few yards nearer,
swiftly, with clear intention
onto the platform two yards from me

and the whole world turned on me
as I realised I had no idea
whether it was playing at
blackbird makes friends with man
or whether it was planning
a swift dart at this rival’s eyes

and I felt humble, stupid, ashamed, and yes scared,
to have intruded in this blackbird’s life;
stopped whistling, turned away
and pretended it was just a game,
knowing now
it wasn’t.

by Michael Shepherd

Comments (2)

This is great. It reminds me of the time I was walking around with a tape recorder and recorded a bird for awhile and then played its song back to itself. It started engaging in a twittering conversation with itself until it realized the tape recorder was just a mocking bird and it clammed up.
In our conceit, we think we have all the answers, don't we? What a strange feeling when the truth that we know nothing hits us! !