Sunday, September 3, 2017

Poem: Magpie

Like ravens, owls, and vultures, magpies don’t have a great reputation. While swans symbolize beauty and self-sacrifice, ravens are associated with magic, owls represent death, and magpies have a reputation for stealing shiny things and serving as a bad omen. I’ve never been much for superstition, but I enjoy symbolism. 

When I first saw a magpie in England I was surprised to learn that this particular subspecies had blue on its wings. This detail inspired a poem. I decided to combine my observations of the magpies and their thieving reputation with my experiences studying in Nottingham.

Personally, I like magpies—they’re allusive but pretty. If my poem seems a little too dark for my opinion of the birds, note that I have also compared magpies with the struggles of depression. There were plenty of times during my studies that I wondered whether or not all my efforts mattered. This poem is meant to be an exploration of emotion and nature. I suppose you could say writing poetry is one of my ways of coping with the world. 

Disclaimer: This poem is meant to be about birds and education, not race and politics. 


Justice isn’t always black and white.
That’s why those colors adorn the Magpie,
full-time court jester, part-time thief—
and you thought your words were your own—
tell me, what is originality?

He laughs at your fumbling
with your bike lock, tripping over your responsibilities,
musing on your literature on Addison’s Walk—
who needs sophistication?
Your degree, your sheets of paper mean nothing
to a bird donned with all he needs—feathers.

Did I ever mention these thieves are camera shy?
Taking nothing they need, they strut, they chortle,
they spread their blue-tipped wings
to form a shadow o’er your confidence, o’er your joy
‘til you’re left with nothing but empty pockets.


Similar posts: The Crow and the Heron, Pile of Words, and Shadows

Let’s chat! What’s your take on birds and their symbolism? Do you have a creative outlet? What helps you relax? 

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