Thursday 14 May 2020


A broken bird feeder found its way to me last year.
I painted it in shades of country cream.

I filled a cup of water, and sprinkled a meal, 
fit, I thought, for any feathered queen.

No bird came. Months passed by,
and today, hurrah, a visit made.

Bib of blue, and frankly suspicious, she flitted 
and flirted, from lilac to magnolia, 

to her new wooden house,
unconscious of my joyful gaze.

Chaffinch and sparrow followed, drinking in the rain,
picking through the catkin carpet,

the willow leaves, 
the tall, unwieldy, unmowed grass. 

Meanwhile, the news. Meanwhile, the roll call of names 
we never knew, strangers perching gently on our hearts. 

You ask me if I believe in God.
I say, What is God? What is a poem

I say, I lost my friends one by one to time, 
but when the birds came to call,

I found I had lost not one of my friends, 
not one of them at all. 

© Shaista Tayabali, 2020

Today, May 14th, was the birthday of both my Uncle Motu and my Aunty Saida. They weren’t twins. Aunty was five years older. They loved us kids equally. Growing up, we were showered with love when they visited our Bombay home, which had been their childhood home, and then when we moved to our shared new homeland of England, love continued, unperturbed by changed geographical boundaries. They are both gone now, into the other world ... but the memory of love remains.


Sherry Blue Sky said...

Thankfully, the memory of love remains. I am glad some birds found your feeder. Once they start coming, they continue. I have a constant feast happening on my balcony. I hope you and your family are staying well, Shai.

Frank Hubeny said...

Nice ending about not losing any of them and the description of seeing a bird finally make a home there.

Kim M. Russell said...

A lovely way to commemorate your aunt and uncle, Shaista! They shared their birthday with my husband. I love the image of the broken bird feeder – country cream is the perfect colour for it – and I’m so happy the birds finally arrived for the feast. You all look so happy in the photographs.

indybev said...

I, too, have lost dear friends and family one by one. It is true no one is truly gone, as they live on in the memory of lives they touched along the way. Beautiful write.

Mish said...

A beautiful tribute. I like your word choices and the symbolism you create between the little birds, your deep loss but also cherished memories that live on forever.

brudberg said...

There are days when the memory of our relatives feels closer.... maybe the birds came to remind you really.

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