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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "Brothers and Cousins"

This poem was written outside the Poetry fishbowl sessions.  It was inspired by a conversation with saavik about Central European ethnicity.  It has been sponsored by Shirley Barrette.  Browse the Eastern Imperial Eagle, lesser spotted eagle, and white-tailed eagle.  Visit the Serial Poetry page to find the other poems in the Fledgling Grace series.

Brothers and Cousins

Once there were two brothers,
Magyar and Hunor.
They rode across Europe,
settled in the middle region,
and like all men passed away
into bones and dust and history.

Their descendants live on
in Hungary and Germany
and other lands beyond,
their kinship sometimes forgotten
amidst family squabbles.

Yet the Fledging brought it
all to the fore again
as the white-tailed eagle of Germany
arrived with dark wings and bright tail
while the lesser spotted eagle of Hungary
spread wings of brown delicately edged in gold.

The cousins looked at each other
over the fence of Austria where
the eastern imperial eagle flicked its barred tail
and rustled brown wings with pale patches.

They were not the same,
but they were close, they were kin.
People with eagle wings began
to leaf through family records,
ask their elders for stories,
search for connections.
Genealogy became popular again.

Sensing which way the wind blew,
politicians came together to discuss
whether they might take down
those fences and reunite the land.

They lapped their wings across
each other's shoulders as they
leaned over the backlit map,
admiring what each had made and
imagining what might yet be.

Brothers, cousins, kindred --
somehow everyone remembered
what had come from bones and dust
and history written with eagle quills
across the breadth of Europe.

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2 comments or Leave a comment
book_worm5 From: book_worm5 Date: September 8th, 2014 05:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
One can only wish for all squabbling politicians to be so moved. I'm glad that in this world at least some of them were.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 14th, 2014 09:06 am (UTC) (Link)


The wings don't fix everything, but they do reveal a great deal that was once hidden. The opportunity for enlightenment is there, for people who are open to it.
2 comments or Leave a comment