A free-verse poem about how sparrows are considered dispensable.
|Sixty years ago when I was a boy
in possession of a brand new BB gun,
my parents told me to shoot sparrows
but not cardinals, blue jays, robins,
or any other “pretty songbirds”.
No one would miss dead sparrows.
In America, the English sparrow
is considered by many people
to be a nuisance bird,
one whose aggressiveness
allows it to out-compete,
drive out “more desirable” birds --
those with prettier colorings,
those with sweeter songs,
those with a more timid nature.
Their overabundance has made
the sparrow commonplace.
Their drab color and lack of
lilting song have made
Recently I overheard a neighbor
remind her young son with a BB gun
not to kill any of the desirable birds,
just to kill the sparrows.
Later that day I watched a TV
report about how fifteen million
third-world children will die
from starvation this year.
I wondered why the richer nations
and their citizens did not do more
to prevent this tragedy …
and then it hit me.
These poor third-world children are
the sparrows of the human world.
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