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The Caged Bird's Escape

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Post The Caged Bird's Escape   Wed Sep 08, 2010 5:52 pm

The Caged Bird's Escape

(a poem version from Rumi's Mathnawi)


Once upon a time a bird in a cage
sang for her merchant master.

He took such delight in her song
day and night
that her feelings began to matter.

He grew so fond of her
that he always brought her
water in a golden dish,
and when he had to go on a
merchant ‘s journey
he asked her for her wish.

“I will go through the
forest where you
were born
past the birds of
your neighborhood.

What message should
I bring them
for you to sing them
of the news
of your present good?”

“Tell them I sit in a cage
full of sorrow
singing my captive song.

Day and night locked up
my heart is grieved
and I hope it
won’t be long
before I see them again
and look on their faces
and fly in freedom
through the trees.

What message do they have
from their lovely forest
that will set my heart at ease?

Oh I yearn for my beloved
to fly with him
and spread my captive wings!

Until then I sit
disconsolate
separate from all sweet things.”

The merchant went with his donkeys
through the thick and melodious wood.

When he got to where his bird was from
he stopped and pushed back his hood.

“Oh birds, one and all,
greetings to you
from my pretty bird locked in her cage.

She sends her love
and wants me to tell you of
her condition and ask your sage
for a message to take hack
that will ease her heart
and turn over a brand new page.

She is all alone with bars all around her—
she wants to join her beloved and sound her
song through the air again
for her heart be free again.”

All the birds listened
then suddenly one shrieked
and fell from its branch to the ground.

The merchant froze to the spot
he stood on
and nothing could astound him
more than this did.

One bird had fallen down dead!

He went to the city and traded his goods,
He returned to his house and went
around in a mood
unable to speak.

Finally his bird asked him what
message came from their beaks
and he stood before her
cage and said,

“Oh, nothing to speak of.”

“No, no,” she cried,
“I must know at once!”

“I don’t know what
happened,” he said, “I’m
a dunce! I told them
your message
then one fell down dead!”

Suddenly, his own bird shrieked and fell on her head
onto the floor of her cage.

He let out tears of rage.

“Oh, what have I done?”

Now my moon has gone out
and so has my sun!

Now my own bird is dead —
my life means nothing.

I will have to bury her now,
dear, dead thing!”

He opened the door and reached in and took her
into his hands, careful not to drop her

but once out in the air,
she flew up with one swoop
and flew out the window
onto the nearest roof slope.

“Thank you, merchant master,
for delivering my plea.

That bird sent me a message
that instructed me
on how to win my freedom
and fly quite free.

So I go now to my loved one
who is waiting for me.
All I did was be dead.
All I had to do was die.
It’s easy once you use
your heart and your head.

Goodbye, goodbye, master no more!

I will fly into space,
to my beloved I’ll soar!”

She returned
no more
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