I watched them at their feeders for a while,
saw how the blackbird, magpies, rooks
and pigeons were excluding smaller
and defenseless birds - a wren, some tits,
a chaffinch and a sparrow from the feast.
Pitiless, they were, relentless,
driving them away. But then,
when someone wandered by, quite close to them,
it was the larger birds took fright and left
the field to those they'd dispossessed -
who seemed to have no fear of man,
the one, perhaps, they should have feared the most.
I saw this little drama played
by those unconscious actors on the lawn
as something of a metaphor of us.
What is it that our richest nations fear
and fear to such extent that they must take
whatever of the world's resources they can claim
by fair means or by foul
regardless of the paupers who must starve?
Is there, deep down, a bully in us all?
Would small birds bully smaller if they could?
Would they become remorseless in oppressing
their even weaker brethren with no weight?
What drives we civilised to such extremes?
Not greed, I think - though some will disagree -
not even naked power or lust for power,
to me the answer must be clearly fear.
But fear of what? That our good fortunes may be lost?
The wheat, the iron, the oil? Atomic power?
All that we have branded as our own...
these things are finite in the main. But yet
to me it seems the loss we fear the most
is none of these, but that of self:
the silent threat to that, our ways of life,
the pictures that we paint of who we are.
Please go to dVerse Poets for a fascinating exposition of the form and content of an ode - and the prompt for this attempt.
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