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Bird, Uncaged

(Aug 11th, 2016 at 08:17:27 AM)
I know why the caged bird sings
and why it holds such lofty dreams
but with the clasp undone
is the battle won?
Are the unshackled truly free?

Is it free when it hops
through the open door
and rides clipped wings
to a second floor?
Is it caged once more?

If it grows new feathers
and dares to fly
toward a solemn square
of unfamiliar sky
could you stand by and watch it crash?

As seasons pass
would it sit on the sill
with its beak to the glass
and a fearful trill?
Could you stay and watch it still?

If outside it sees
such tragedies
as gun dogs running
with geese in their teeth
would you expect to hear it screech?

With the panels cracked
and claw-mark ridden
would you fine the bird
for vandalism?
Could you take the time to listen?

If it pecks a hole
through the weak window
and swoops below
with a loosened shard
and runs it far
into a howling pup
would you then get up?

Would the bloodied fur
of a familiar beast
be enough to spur
empathetic grief?
Would the bird's death grant relief?

If the bird's crime makes you madder,
and the dog's the one that's battered,
let's not mince words:
if you still hunt birds
then do bird lives really matter?