Saturday Features

We are all migrants

- Anand Vijay Gurung

Dec 1, 2018-

The call of a solitary pied cuckoo

rings above the brook

that gurgles over the rocks.

Its black and white

wing patterns and spiky crest,

stark against the monsoon green

of its momentary tree perch.

Beautiful is the whistling notes it makes

before pecking into its feathers,

its long tailed bobbing

eagerly for a feeding, mating splurge. 

It’s easy to be amazed

by just how this slim, brood parasite

manages to navigate

thousands of ardous, dangerous miles

into this breeding sanctuary. 

 

The body of a young Syrian boy

washed up on a desolate beach in Turkey

sparks an international outcry and rage.

Lying face down on the surf

in his red t-shirt and tiny shoes,

the small, restless waves of the choppy sea

constantly break into him in a resounding woosh.

 

This stirring image resonates

as a tragic symbol

—of the price people fleeing violence and hardship pay

to find a new life for themselves

and for those who they will raise.

And tells the whole world

just how this lifeless war refugee

perished in a final, desperate attempt

to find a safe haven and thrive,

and perhaps live to a great age.

 

All that the bird and the refugee boy

are migrants

driven by instincts of survival.

Setting out on their perilous journeys

to navigate their way 

in a world of starvation, disease, predatory onslaught

both natural and man-made.

The only cue guiding them 

to the elusive perfect nest

etched in their mental map

being the wanderlust gene

lying dormant in every being.

 

It’s just that one had to somehow survive

to spark enthusiasm in the pleasure

of witnessing next year

just how its kind keep the time of their arrival.

Alas the other had to eternally lie face down

on the beach and become a poster boy

of terrible migrant suffering,

to move countries so much

as to close their doors

and impose refugee blockade.

 

Borders and walls

are there for the unfortunate humans,

not birds and brooks,

and while shutting out outsiders,

we ourselves get shut in,

and end up more damaged, 

with a heart that keeps hurting. 

Published: 01-12-2018 08:32

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