Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Prose Poem After Lorca

 The Blind Man and The Birds                                               

After Lorca      

There once was an old blind man who lived in Madrid.  He lived on the third floor, and he had a balcony which overlooked the street.  On this balcony he kept a bird cage, in which there were two canaries.  The man couldn’t see the canaries, of course, but he could hear their song.  Each day he would feed them, and once a week he cleaned their cage, gingerly opening the door, and changing the newspaper at the bottom.  The cage was invisible, but the old blind man did not know this.  The birds could not see the cage either, though their sight was perfect.  They were so faithful to the old man that they never tried to fly away.  One day when the old man got up, he had a strange sensation—he could not hear the canaries!  He rushed to the balcony to see what might have happened.  Then he heard a scream.  Another scream.  People began running in the streets.  He stood at the balcony and tried to understand what was happening.  “The Fascists are coming.  They are shooting anyone on sight!” they cried.  Then he heard a shot.  Then another, then a volley.  Then running steps, and cries.  Invisible bullets singing through the morning air.  “What will happen to my canaries?” he cried, when he suddenly thought about them again.  He rushed over to the cage, and felt the thin wires with his fingers.  He reached into the cage and felt for their soft feathery fluttering wings, but they had flown away. “It is a sign from Heaven,” he cried, “God has set them free!”  

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