Today's poem is by Pascale Petit

Scarlet Macaws

The scarlet macaws want their red back,
not puce or pink but rich rubescence.
They squawk and screech and growl
for the people to give it back.

They want their green and yellow, the ultramarine
and azure of their flight feathers.
They want their green homes to vibrate
against their red plumage.

They don't want to be eaten.
They don't want to be sacrificed.
They don't want to be shot for their celestial light
            and lose their teeth and eyes.
They don't want to be called Seven Macaw
            and mark the coming of the dry season
            or the hurricane season.

They don't want to be shot from the world tree
            by the Hero Twins
or be worn by them in a victory headdress.
They don't want to be bred as pets or for trade.

They want to spread their feathers
like the world's riches, a currency
that doesn't cost a thing, that doesn't
            symbolise blood.
They don't want their heads chopped off
            and stuck on poles in city temples.

They say their scarlet hue is life.
They say that every tree is an axis mundi
and all their eyes are suns.
They don't want their heads stuck on grey human bodies
            for funeral rites.

They don't want their ashes to treat diseases
because no medicine is left, no doctor.

They want to take their place
with the quetzal and the jaguar.
Their feathers are axes,
their feathers are lightning,
their feathers are rain

for everyone, not just the rulers with their royal aviaries.
Sun-macaws are free,
they are prayer-arrows,
Morning Stars,
they are the west wind that brings change.
They are the cardinal directions of health.

Do not bury them in human graves.
Do not bury them as plucked grave-goods
until the country is just a naked carcass
with its feet and wings bound tight around its heart.

Copyright © 2017 Pascale Petit All rights reserved
from New Boots and Pantisocracies
Smokestack Books
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

Archives  Web Weekly Features  About Verse Daily  FAQs  Submit to Verse Daily  Follow Verse Daily on Twitter

Copyright © 2002-2017 Verse Daily All Rights Reserved