by Anjali Paul

In the late Spring, gathering
to hear the nightingales in the woods -
a small crowd including us.

The Forest Warden
welcomed us as if this was his garden;
informed everyone that there were only five this year
so we might have to wait a bit to hear their song.

We all walked some wet green miles and it was clear
from what he said that they were welcomed here
for they only came to find their mates
as they all travel separately,
then they all moved along
went right back home you see.
Not like those parakeets up in that tree.

“Nasty gaudy pests,” he said
pursing his lips and shaking his head
and not quite looking us in the eye.
The others studiedly avoided our faces
(theirs were all white and ours were both brown)
I think one even bent down
to re-tie his shoe laces,
as the Warden raised his voice:
“Loud, dirty and crude
pushing the local birds out of their natural habitat,
stealing their food.

It makes my blood boil to think of that.
The whole damn lot
should be shot.”

You smiled apologetically, appearing to agree
but I felt you flinch and freeze
as that blizzard of words tore and twisted apart
your mind and beat more trust out of your heart.
And I saw that your soul had found sanctuary
in a warm and loving memory
of the home where you had the right to be.

You allowed him to brutalise you because you are so eager to please.
I have seen it happen endlessly.
And now this has become your land, this inhospitable terrain
composed of layer upon impacted layer of frozen pain.

Me, I stared at a pair of emerald parakeets as they flew home to roost
on a Maytime branch rich with the promise of Summer.
I thought how well its colour matched their colour.

It’s Winter now, and I’m still not out of the woods yet
though I’m watching a pair of parakeets in a different garden;
they look so much smaller,
so much duller,
as they huddle together on a bare branch that is no longer Eden;
braced against another icy blast.

And I see you still trapped in your reassuring past,
waiting for me to find my own way home, for we
both know that time and love heal pain
and you cannot be free
until I am free again.

Poems about Love and Life and Staring Out of Windows at Trees by Anjali Paul

Anjali Paul's picture

Anjali Paul is of Indian origin. She was born in India and went to the U.K. at the age of nine, after having lived in several other countries. She grew up in the U.K.

Last updated April 23, 2015