Old Birds

This poem was originally published on 12 June 2015.

They were old and they were worn.
Their feathers were now greying.
Their eyes were sore from the wind,
And their chirps were now relaying,
War stories of the shell shocks,
The jets and their streams,
The missiles and the poison clouds,
The tough times in which they had been.

There were songs of the old days,
When the skies were blue and clear,
When the sunshine was pleasant,
And not a thing to fear.
There were narrations of the clouds,
The simple games they played,
On the earth and up in flight,
And how the blue umbrella frayed.

The fibres made way for the new.
Change was in the air:
A home invasion had resulted
In a scattering for clear.

They flew far.
They flew fast.
They pushed their own limits,
And they always rose up again,
Even though they sometimes plummeted.

And here they are years later,
Experienced - though still not so,
For this is a new world
A mirage of what they had known before.
Thus, that which they feed their hatchlings,
Is all that they saw,
Hence, often, 'tis thrown up,
Rendered by time, expired and raw.

These greyed fledglings -
These naïve veterans
Have a new world to fly over;
Tales with new letterin'.
There are still more shell shocks;
New battles to be fought.
But - Oh!
These old birds,
How they have beat,
How they have been wrought!

Well, these old birds,
If there is one thing of which they are sure:
'Tis that the war is never won,
It shall last evermore.
"So strap on your armour young'un,
But don't you let it pull you down.
The skies do await you,
Then, so does a fool's crown.

Fly far,
But do not fly fast.
Wherever you go, let yourself be cast.
And though you may need rest upon the ground,
Know down there are small-hearted beasts,
Who - unlike you and I,
Only sit and pounce to eat.
Yes, you must be wary of them,
But more so of yourself;
Your worst enemy in the end,
Is nothing but your health.

So fly far. Do not fly fast.
This shall be your song one day.
You have only so many cycles,
And so few to break.
Take off. Take care.
Be a wandering balloon.
And you would not want to be caught napping,
On the ground in a full moon."

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