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Poem: "Roving Wings" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "Roving Wings"

This poem came out of the August 7, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from Dreamwidth user Chanter_greenie.  It has been sponsored by mdlbear.  This poem belongs to the series Fledgling Grace.

Roving Wings

The Roma ranged far and wide
across Europe and lands beyond,
as they had for centuries.

The Fledging brought them
the feathers of the common starling,
black glazed with iridescent blue and green,
speckled with tiny white spots, sign
of their broad territory and roaming ways.

Some sprouted the smart black-and-white wings
of the Eurasian magpie instead,
dark patches similarly sheened with rainbow hues,
marked out as performers.

There were, of course, a few
who sported the plumage of other peoples --
the Eastern Imperial Eagle of Austria
the Ural Owl of the Cossacks --
silent reminder of shared bloodlines
between the people of the land
and those who passed through it.

So, too, the black and white flecks
of starling wings appeared
like paint spackled across
the pale canvas of Europe,
here and there and everywhere
that Roma lovers had gone.

They came, sometimes,
to the edges of the campsites,
fluttering their strange new wings
and wondering if their kin
would welcome them or not.

"Kasavi vi e śej saj sar i dej,"
the old women said,
Such mother, such daughter.
It was no hardship to add
another relative to the caravan.

Other ties began to evolve,
making the journey a little easier.

Though the Roma had never really
been friends with the Vikings,
they felt an odd kinship,
one migratory race to another,
common starling and glaucous gull,
so they flipped their wings at each other
and passed by in peace.

The Jews, too, had followed
some of the same trails over time,
shadowed now with the feathers
of pallid swifts and glossy ibis,
sign of their long wandering.

If birds could be migratory
and neither do nor take harm by it,
and if humans could now
wear the plumage of birds --

then perhaps, just perhaps,
the roads and the ways
would come free again in the end.

* * *


The Roma people are a subgroup of the Romani, often nomads who travel through Europe and the Americas.

The common starling is widespread, having traveled from Europe to other parts of the world, and is often considered a nuisance bird.

The Eurasian magpie appears throughout much of the continent, flashy and intelligent.

Kasavi vi e śej saj sar i dej.
Translation: "Such mother, such daughter."
-- Romani proverbs

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5 comments or Leave a comment
From: technoshaman Date: November 25th, 2013 04:10 am (UTC) (Link)
One could hope that being more aware of one's fellows could foment peace....

The awareness, not so easy without feathers..
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 25th, 2013 04:13 am (UTC) (Link)


>>One could hope that being more aware of one's fellows could foment peace....<<

Ideally, yes. But sometimes you get "such mother, such daughter" and other times you get people picking their own or someone else's feathers out due to abject neuroticism.

>> The awareness, not so easy without feathers.. <<

True. A key theme in this series is that the Fledging makes the hidden manifest, insides to outsides. The feathers are proof of affinity, although the exact kind of affinity that someone will display varies a lot.
mdlbear From: mdlbear Date: November 25th, 2013 05:33 am (UTC) (Link)
I like this -- thank you!

Done a little wandering in my time...
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 25th, 2013 05:44 am (UTC) (Link)

You're welcome!

I'm glad you enjoyed it. I spent a couple summers traveling the country with my family, and remember it very fondly.
mdlbear From: mdlbear Date: December 7th, 2013 04:19 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: You're welcome!

I did, too -- we traveled all up and down most of the East coast during Dad's vacations.
5 comments or Leave a comment