Wednesday, 22 November 2017

A Bird Lies Down to Die on its Own Funeral Pyre.

A bird fell down my chimney while I was away for the weekend. How unfair that this creature of the sky should have to spend its last hours, and perhaps days, in a frantic fluttering attempt to vertical take-off up a soot-caked flue, until finally, weary and broken it lay down its head to die upon a heat-warped fire-plate. And just as it was about to give up its bird-shaped ghost, it spotted the narrow gap into the stove. With renewed vigor and hope, it pushed its already spent body through a gap designed for smoke but not for birds, until it emerged joy-filled into an open space stacked with newspaper, kindling and a single firelighter. Through glass blackened round the edges, it peered into my sitting room at my wooden floor and armchair piled high with books and cushions, at my TV, and at my window, through which the grey November sky called the bird home. But there was no way past the metal stove walls, no way past the blackened glass, no way through the grate beneath. It tapped on the glass with its tiny beak, but there were no ears to hear the knocking, no hands to open the door. After one final look at the sky outside, it lay down to die on its own funeral pyre. Returning on Sunday night, I opened the stove door to strike a match, and faltered at the sight of this tiny bird perfectly placed on top of my unlit fire. A single lifeless eye, black and glassy, stared out at me, and on the feathers beneath it, the silvery trail of a liquid which leaked from it. I don't know if birds can cry. Google says they can't. But I believe that was a teardrop, and this is mine for the bird.

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