Poem: The Last Bird
08/01/2012 08:34PM ● Published by Denise Brown
Poem By Deenaz Coachbuilder
In the trees, along the lake,countless water birdsbreed in the winter months.Snow-white egrets restingbeside soot-black cormorants,the mighty open bill storks lived peaceably next to the small white ibises,
the purple night herons.The common sparrows twittered, busily hunting for dry seedand nesting twig.
In the autumn, after the rains, beyond the yellowing grass gleams the rich dark greenof the lofty sal.
The fiery blossoms of the flame of the forest disappear. May-awe screams the peacock, displaying its splendid feathers, fanned out before adoring hens.
Those forgotten sparrows bathed in the dust collected beneath overhanging branches.
Mumbai city attracted the screeching parrot that scolded from the burnished brownof the gulmohor tree.Grey pigeons goodo-goed,
awkwardly encircling each otheralong dusty ledges of rusted windows. Crows held a caucus in the evening gloom.
Sparrows drank off muddy water gathering along the dripping eaves.
Then the river waters rushing through Manac’s spectacular gorge
dried.Sanctuary grasslands that sheltered
the chukor partridge and the sarus crane lay waste.
Leaves of the city’s gulmohors cracked,
the garden guavas, house of the green totas stripped, denuded.
And then the birds were gone.
Only the dull sparrows, unnoticed amidst the dustbins
sanga last faint song.
“The Last Bird” intersects with my own life in an eerie way. We are so fascinated with the beautiful birds of India, that the common sparrow that twitters unnoticed, is ignored. That was what the poem was about, on one level. Then! A few years ago, you may have read about this, the vultures in India, and many other countries, began to dwindle in numbers, and have almost disappeared from Mumbai city. Over the last couple of years, the sparrows are decreasing in Mumbai! – Deenaz