ars poetica of partridges & palestine


Sedo told me once our last name means partridge—
that sweet little bird in the pear tree every Christmas.

I’m looking for metaphors on Wikipedia again. It’s easy
to write poems about birds with so many species of partridges.

National Geographic says 43 of those species are decreasing
in population; something Palestinians know all too well.

People like poems about birds more than they like poems
about Palestine, & actual Palestine & her endangered people.

We just won’t go extinct quickly enough. But I digress.
That’s not the metaphor I’m looking for just yet.

They interviewed an avian ecologist who says partridges
are ground-dwellers, unlikely to roost in pear trees.

Those first day of Christmas birds of the family Phasianidae,
presents from one’s true love, were put in pear trees

against their will—branches like an open-air prison
the world ignores because at least they can still see sky.

Some might say I’m reaching, but that’s what metaphors do.
But inside them, there’s always a feather of truth.

This I know: when it comes to partridges & Palestine,
the pervasive popular messaging around us both is false.

The difference is, everyone knows senselessly killing birds is wrong.

Mandy Shunnarah