Monday, November 23, 2009

Healing & the African River Martin

For Human Being, Sonia, Annie, myself, and for _____.
You may have seen this before. I recently shared this poem with a blog friend. I told her that when I wrote this I was filled with both foreboding and hope. I remember both feelings so clearly: I had begun to accept the inevitability of distance, but I also was secure in the endurance and flight of love.
I was wrong.
What I believed then is beyond crumbles now, a year later. Have you ever had to face letting go of some one or some circumstance you thought would be part of your life forever? It's no fun. It's confusing, sad, depressing, shocking.
And yet. Love has its own strength. It can survive in the harshest circumstance, even with broken wings and barren ground. I'll let the poem explain the rest.
Wounded Bird
Part 1
A swallow can fly miles, from treetop to ocean cliff,
The wind's undertow buoyantly gliding her
To a resting place of warm possibility..
She is free, lifted higher by duty and family,
Not a thought outside of weather and wind,
Acceptance and choice safely within her span.
But then, jolted in flight,
her heart pumped deep
And she is transformed,
The unknown and unfamiliar
In that very moment,
A broken wing reclaiming
Something lost and ancient
Spiraling deep and desperate
Into the habitat of hidden.
Some species heal their wings
In solitude, licking and lying
In a nest of thin twigs
Healing from within
Until they can fly again,
To and from home.
But other species do not heal
And they tuck that wing
Underneath themselves,
Landlocked and less,
The natural order
Injured inside and out.
That species will push on
Practicing, praying, pretending
That wings are but a crutch;
Meanwhile hoping that reverse gravity
May rocket them up and open them wide,
Heedfully whole to fly again.

Part 2 (My Side)
I fly from necessity
Hovering over leafy trees and endless water,
Following an inestimable path from home
Only to return again,
Where I’ll find my roots and rhythm
Deeply tucked in grainy sand.
I do not question why I do this--
This destiny of family and fate--
What I cannot fathom I will not change.
My twelve feather tail and meager wing span
Weigh in below two ounces,
Not enough for my survival
And yet I maneuver and endure,
I doggedly sing my song
And tuck my broken wing
Under my expanding and rapid chest
Until I know if
I might fly again.
If I should die here
Unable to lift myself beyond this place
I will fly anyway
Straight to this indomitable future
Where I will be an African River Martin
tending and fending
Reaching still and always,
Weightless in my belief
That I was born for just this moment.


  1. Beautiful KJ...Yes I understand fully...Im still trying to let go.


  2. ah, sonia, my dear friend, an understanding we share... xoxo

  3. This is so beautiful, as you are. Thank you for your kind and loving words, they mean a lot. xoxo

  4. annie, you're the annie in the dedication. i hope you know that...

  5. KJ, what a beautiful post/poem. I can relate in more ways than one. This post personally spoke to me alot. Thank you.

  6. If I were a bird I would be pained in seeing other birds fly even though the wing no longer hurts, I am not avian though. I am elephantine a whale on the land and in that *shrug* I will travel the savanna and find my meat elsewhere.

  7. I did Kj, thank you. Love you.xoxo

  8. Hi KJ, Robin Lamb here. (Annie's friend from San Francisco.) I have been reading your wise and beautiful words and they are so true. I am going through a similiar loss - I lost my long-term job (13 years) in May - five days later, my boyfriend left me (after 15 years). I have been in such a state of shock and pain - still - after all these months. But when one's heart is broken and one is alone (no family, no friends close by) - it is harder to learn to stand up and fly again.
    Thank you for your wisdom - it helps - and we don't even know each other. Thank you again for being Annie's friend...she is going through so much now with the illness of her cats (both of whom I know and love). Pray for us all. I now keep you in my prayers too.... the heart can heal.


  9. Such beautiful words kj. i see how they are working their magic already, touching others who share similar heartaches.

    you have a gift with words dear kj, but you have a heart of gold to share them too.

    enjoy your tuesday my friend ♥

  10. sophia, aw, thank you. you are as sweet as i see you!!

    clug and lug along, walking man, or should i say mr. beached whale... :)

    annie, love you too.

    robin, i am so sorry to deal about your losses--two at the same time is so hard. i am glad my poem reached you in some way and i thank you so much for telling me. we can get to know one another on the blogs. it is an amazing way to connect. be strong, robin, let time do its work. xoxo

    lori, do you think it's immature of me that everytime i see a comment from you i want to jump up and down and my involuntary smile takes over? :)

  11. You are born for perfect moments kj.

    Those are the moments you try to bring to all of us in your loving and caring ways.

    Love Renee xoxo

  12. hello renee, it's saint kj.


  13. .

    i've been there
    several times
    letting go of a friend
    to quest his/her question
    and me
    to question my quest...

    thanks kj for sharing your sentiments, words and photos with us... they connect our souls in a beautiful way...

    love and peace to you

  14. When I run across poetry such as yours, kj, I am always in awe, since poetry is not something I can do.

    This was lovely...and strong, as well. Thank you for posting it and I can't wait to read more!

  15. Love is in the air, how exciting.

    Are you and JB on round 13,783 of the love wheel.

    Love Renee xoxo

  16. Love has many faces, not all of them kind. Did you know that broken bones and wings sometimes knit back together stronger than before? They may no longer be straight, but they set in such a way as to send you in new directions-transformed.

    I would caution those who heal alone to be wary of this. Healing and fixing yourself in the fetal position makes it hard to move on.

    I live with a pack, and there is nothing that touches my heart like seeing a tired old dog move out into the sun, to be greeted by her pack. You can actually watch as she takes strength from those around her who care.

  17. BTW-for those who don't know, I really literally DO live with a pack of dogs and I wasn't calling anyone a tired old dog....LOL.

  18. Debra's comment popped in my mail just now... and i came here to tell her how i enjoyed her wise and beautiful words to you...

    and i had a chance to read your lovely poem once again...

    hugs to you both

  19. hb, thank you. our souls are connected already.

    marion, thank you. i used to write very up and hopeful poems. then i've been writing very sad poems. i don't know what will come next...

    renee, if love is in the air for me, it is the same air we all breathe....and the same love... xoxo

    debra kay, you called me a tired old dog--don't try to deny it!! hahaha! your words here are pure gold, dear friend. pure gold. xoxo

    hb, debra kay is uniquely wise. i know this about her firsthand. she is also very lovable. xoxo

  20. Love that poem, kj - you are very clever and wise and obviously well loved judging by the comments!
    Best wishes, A

  21. We are all wounded birds, in one way or another, aren't we, dear kj? Your poem is powerful and beautiful, and the last line is perfect.

    Hugs love and Happy Thanksgiving,

  22. aw, sag, what a wonderful comment. thank you!

    nolly, after reading your post today, i just want to hug you tight.

    angela, yes. i love what you say. happy thanksgiving my twinkierest twin. xoxox

  23. I hope you heal and can let go!
    There is a saying that when you love something (or somebody) you have to let it go. When it comes back to you it is yours when it doesn't it was not yours from the beginning...............


  24. quite interesting read. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did anyone hear that some chinese hacker had busted twitter yesterday again.