Monday, April 25, 2011

St. Clement's Church 2- A Few Days Later

I came back a few days later
To the same crime scene
At St. Clement’s Church
And curiosity led me
To take another look
At the fallen dead pigeon
Whose broken body
Remained in state
Just behind
The church yard
This time however
The scene
No longer seemed so serene
Gone was the sense
Of peaceful repose
During the past intervening
Several days
The body was already
Getting moldy
The corpse having been ravaged
By neighborhood scavengers
The bird’s once impressive plumage
Now mostly stripped away
By the smaller starlings and sparrows
Who were using
The dead bird’s feathers
To feather their own fledgling nests

I happened to catch
One of the winged grave robbers in the act
A little sparrow
Who was busy plucking
And snatching her fallen comrade’s
Downy feathers
She caught a glimpse of me
Looking at her
As if she half expected
To be arrested
For desecration of a corpse
She cocked her head
As if to say so what
I too have responsibilities
I too have a nest to build
I too have a clutch of eggs
That need to be hatched
So that the cycle of life
May continue to go on
These feathers that I am snatching
Will keep the eggs warm
And they will provide good insulation
Against the weather
So why not?
How am I at fault?
Where am I to be blamed?
Where am I in the wrong?
And with that said
She turned her tail feathers
In defiance
And off she flew
To her well protected
And well hidden nest
I remembered that the day
Just happened to be Holy Thursday
The day that Jesus was betrayed
For thirty pieces of silver
His body tortured and scourged
Until his yet living corpse
Could be delivered up
So that he could meet his
Sure and certain
Fate on the cross
Gone were his robes
And on his head
A crown of thorns

It was absurd to compare
My dead pigeon
To the fate of Jesus on the cross
And so I forced myself to cease my
Morbid musings
And I moved on
Past the church gates
To continue to go on
About my mundane business
To content myself
With more natural
And more pleasant thoughts
But I just could not shake off
The image of the fallen pigeon
From my mind
I suppose one could say
That nature was simply recycling
Her dead
And that even in death
Nature’s rule of
Waste not want not
Always applies
Or it could be seen
As the living and strong
Taking advantage of the weak
And helpless
I shrugged off my doubts
Thinking that
In a few weeks
There will be nothing
Left of the dead pigeon
To be seen
Except for the two poems
That I happened
To have written
As a kind of elegy
As a kind of eulogy
As a kind of apology
Or perhaps
Just as a way
Of somehow
One last
Good bye

Philadelphia, Pa. 2011

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