The Yellow-Vented Bulbul
Mon 18th Aug 2014
Untimely seen early in the day,
As it flitted on its daily way.
I well remember that moment then,
When, a mere child, hiding in my den.
I knew that it was called a bulbul,
Its song chiming with gentle breeze so full.
But not half as full as my little heart;
Hedging and fencing with branches gently apart
So that I could see the little fellow,
Its front resplendent bright yellow.
It was the name bulbul that I was after
Because it was the name my father
Gently bestowed on me adding "little" before
And my sister laughed at my childish "more".
I watched without moving - almost not breathing,
As the bird jerkily moved its head this way and that.
It was a moment in Palestine that I did not want to lose.
I so craved for it to last eternally.
Crack! Crack! The yellow spluttered out bloodied
And my Little Bulbul's song was no more
As its little body twisted, flew up and bulleted its way down
To the red soil where it lay,
In the first sun of the warming day.
A huge hand, covered in hair, picked it up,
Looked at it, shook its owner's furrowed head;
And threw it to the side after expelling an angry grunt.
And he walked off reloading his double barrelled shotgun.
I edged my way out of hiding
Picked my warm bloodied feathered friend
And, through warm tears, spoke to it
"I am sorry... for that man's anger."
And I fancied the Bulbul gently nodded his dead head.
As a grown up came forth,
Took me by the hand,
Laughed and angrily said
"Tears? Tears? For a silly bird?
What a sensitive soul!
How will you fight for Palestine
When you are grown, manly and fine?"
And, like the Bulbul, I had no words left
Less desire to sing
Least to discuss killing and being killed
Just to go back in time to that innocent moment
When my childish eyes landed on the Yellow-Vented Bulbul.
And make it last for all eternity.
In freedom, peace, innocence,
And with a song in every step,
And hope in every note.