Little bird with legs tied with string

You may fly as you like, strung up in a tree

You hang and you swing

You beat hard your fragile wings

Feathers fluttering, air breathing

With the force of your whirlwind desperation

You may swing from a hand

Flying with your head to the ground

Or craning up to the sky

That far expanse of escape

But when jostled, hit, or swung

Again to the ground you look, and you see

There might also be escape down there

When finally you are let go, your wings take you a little ways

And you find the ground

Forced there as legs tied with string and weakness hold you down

On your side, little bird, what have you to see?

The dirt, the grass, the twigs and insects

And then your thrashing feet and floundering, the flopping wings

Denied all grace, the beauty they should naturally have

Your talons, ripping into your own face and chest, feathers, torn

You lie still and pant

And then you beat and struggle

You twist and writhe

Little bird, your feet tied with string

You roll up to those feet and you hop

And you stumble

Down

You fall down, little bird

With only yourself, only you may help yourself up

But you are helpless

You battle all forces of confusion and fear

You are a valiant warrior

You reach your feet to topple the tower of your anxiety

My little bird

You hop and flutter

And down you come

To the ground again.

To the sky you rise, the string taut

Tight

You swing and flutter, the wings beat

Feathers ruffled and loose

A beak snapping at the string

Snapping at the thin legs

Your little bird legs

You bite and swing and flutter

And the string becomes tighter

Tighter

So much tighter

They won't let you free, those who tie you down

Those who dictate what you may or may not do

Those who tell you, you cannot fly

You cannot hop

You cannot be free to live

You cannot have your life

It is not yours

You are not your own, little bird

The string ties you to another

And to another world much larger than you, little bird

Battered by your struggle

A heart worn thin by exhaustion, by your fear, by your anguished desires

Little bird, they free you of the string

You, to your feet, you stand and look

As the iron bars shut you in

This cage amongst the many faces

The many eyes observing

The serving hands

Restricting

You may not find your own seeds, your own fruits

You cannot discover your own wants or seek what you find to be missing

Their bars hold you in, little bird

They praise the mournful song you bleed

A voice, a cry of anguish

My little bird

This world is large and it desires to bind those who might wander

Those who might soar, who might scavenge and explore

That string that had tied your little bird feet, that had made you stumble

It is wrapped around you

Layer after layer, little bird

More string than bird, you are

No longer seen

No longer seeing

Blind, bound

You sing monotonous notes

Muffled by the layers that obscure you

You peck at the seeds in the dish

And dip your beak into the water

All that they give you

And you waste away, little bird, never having tested your wings

For the world never gave you the chance to fly.