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How Do You Describe A Bird

Updated on November 15, 2016
Published by Bell and Daldy, London, 1872.
Published by Bell and Daldy, London, 1872. | Source

Syrian activist Michel Kilo once attempted to tell a story to a small boy he met while in prison. Common words had no meaning for the child because his entire young life had been spent captive. Kilo shared this experience with a human rights conference in Geneva and again in a moving interview with Dubai Media.


"How Do You Describe A Bird"

The following poem is inspired by Michel Kilo's story and is dedicated to the children of Syria. It was first published by Shout Out UK in 2014.


Great White Pelicans, a bird native to Syria
Great White Pelicans, a bird native to Syria | Source
Source

How do you describe a bird

to a child raised in captivity

How do you define the words

of bird

and free

and fly


How do you tell him a story of things

outside the life of his cage

How dare you share a world of wings

and wind

and trees

and sky


Author: Karin Beate Nøsterud
Author: Karin Beate Nøsterud | Source

Can you make him a promise to take him there

to a place that is wild and alive

Can you even begin to answer the where

and when

and how

and why


Photographer: Leon Brooks
Photographer: Leon Brooks | Source

Sing him a song, then, of home and nest

inside the womb of his room

Give him a reason for peace and rest

till then

for now

a lullaby

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    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 11 months ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Thank you, Laurinzo. :-) I used to dream of flying a lot when I was young...not so much now either but I remember the feeling, as if I really know how to fly. Thanks again and take care.

    • Laurinzo Scott profile image

      Live To Write 11 months ago from Phoenix, Az.

      This is incredibly moving... I too have had those flying dreams... I wonder what it means that I don't have them much anymore... Well said

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Jennifer---I know what you mean; whenever I hear of a child in trouble, it could be my own. Here, Syria, anywhere...no child should have to suffer. Thanks so much for your empathy and kind comment! ~Lurana

    • Theater girl profile image

      Jennifer 4 years ago from New Jersey

      This made me tear up! And although not exactly the same, but made me think of some of the little children I teach that have sad lives due to abuse or neglect. Great job!

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      PhillyDreamer---I like how you said that. I used to have a lot of flying dreams when I was young and remember them so well that I feel like I know what it's like to fly....

    • PHILLYDREAMER profile image

      Jose Velasquez 4 years ago from Lodi, New Jersey

      I often imagine the freedom of a bird. Wings to take you anywhere you want to go. Birds have a way of making anyone feel caged.

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Colin---Thank you! This one is one of the few I wrote that is about someone else's life entirely, and it's the one I'd most wish to share with others. I am pleased that you like it. :-)

      I am so glad to hear that you had good news! Today is my dad's birthday and tomorrow is my younger daughter's 5th birthday. I will remember that yours is the 19th now! I hope you have a birthday as fun and friendly and warmhearted as you are. Celebrate your very special self!!!! :-) Lurana

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 4 years ago

      I am so sorry dear Lurana of poetic luminosity that I missed this beauty the first time around but I must say this is my favorite piece by you.

      You are a master of the subtle use of words and yet there is so much profound soulful depth in all of your words.

      Thank you for your buffet of comments this morning and coming from such an awesome writer like you really means a lot to me - the doctor gave me a good report after spending this past Monday in the ER because of a heart condition - it's my birthday this Sunday and his good news was my birthday present . Amen. Sending you warm wishes from Colin and his cats with a nice cuppa tea after escaping the city and back at the lake . double amen at lake erie time 1:57pm

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Frank---Thank you, I am grateful for your comment! Sometimes writing about sad or dark things helps us find hope or at least gives us an outlet.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      Creative and clever by design.. I love the way you paint with words.. and its so sad .. but so worth the read my friend :) Frank

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Jo---I love that poem and have Maya Angelou's autobiography of the same title. I read her poetry as a teenager and fell in love with it. I was thinking of it with the birdcage photo I chose. :-) Yes, the spirit cannot be caged...

      Thank you.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      This is sad, beautiful and so very profound...it reminded me of Maya Angelou's poem, 'I know why the caged bird sings' the human spirit will always fly, even when the wings are clipped and his feet are tied. You write with such depth...looking forward to reading more of your poems.

      My best

      Jo

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Mitch---That is so interesting to me....first of all, it sounds like your your cousin continued to do wood-working, so yay for him. How awful to lose his sight though; I know of someone else (youngish, active, and a father) also going blind from diabetes.

      Being a writer for the blind is a thrilling idea---translating sight into other descriptions. Oranges are rough and cool of course, but I never thought of that before. It makes me think I'd like to read stories written by the blind about the world as they perceive.

      ~Lurana

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 4 years ago from Escondido, CA

      Just a quick note Mrs. Brown. My cousin was blinded by Diabetes. I had a desire to share with him a place and go into business together. He was very good as a craftsman with wood working - machinery and all. He lived in Seattle and I at Orange County, CA. I use to visit a class to learn and was asked to explain the setting sun. I said it was not too hot and blazing orange. Her reply back was similar to "Oranges are rough and cool." I learned. I use to write stories with that theme hoping to be a writer for the blind one day. A lost art maybe or at least out of practice.

      Mitch

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Your Cousins---Hello and thank you for your response and comment! I too was so moved by the interview. Interviewers are usually composed and objective, so to see her holding back tears made it impossible to hold back mine. It is truly a tragic story.

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Mitch---Thank you for stopping by, I appreciate it. A "Nice" means a lot and thanks so much for sharing your experience! I am imagining trying to describe color and I think I'd rely on similar mood effects from the other senses (warm, cool, musical qualities, etc.)...very interesting to think about.

      ~Lurana

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Michelle---Yes, a promise to a child cannot be taken lightly. Thank you for commenting on this and for your visit. :-)

    • Your Cousins profile image

      Your Cousins 4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      This is such a powerful message and I like the way the poem is constructed. I was very moved by the interview, as was the interviewer, on hearing the story of a child who had never seen the outside world and had never even seen a bird. Sad.

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 4 years ago from Escondido, CA

      Hello MrsBrown. I have a four words I use as descriptors many times. Confusing maybe yet sharing:

      Nice! simply means I am speechless

      Interesting means I noted it mentally to look further

      hmmmm means the work usually a story or poetry causes a playful feeling

      Awesome means I desire to cry to the world

      I put this in the first as Nice! although not speechless

      And, too sharing, an experience when a younger man I was asked to describe a color to a child, though blind. That too was Nice!

      Mitch

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Never make a promise to a child, especially one of freedom, to a child and never be able to grant it to him. It would be the worst form of betrayal of all. Thanks for sharing this beauty, Lurana, and I am sharing it too.

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      dreamseeker---Thank you for sharing your response. I appreciate the visit and your thoughts. :-)

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      dreamseeker2 4 years ago

      Interesting piece. A different view on things in the world as shared. Sad, but true. Thanks for sharing it with us...to make us more aware of those who may not have it as good. : ) Voted it up.

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Reba---Thank you so, so much. You are so kind. :-)

    • Dancing Water profile image

      Dancing Water 4 years ago

      Lurana, your beautiful, gentle words do matter. They have positively impacted my life. Just think of how they have touched others. Please believe in your formidable talent as a writer!

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Bill--Thank you! I am truly enjoying the interaction with writers and the new friendships here. It makes me happy too. Thanks for all of your support! :-)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That a lot of comments for a relative newcomer. You are gaining a following slowly but surely. It makes me happy. :)

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Valleypoet---Thank you, friend, for your comment. It is sad...I could not let it go once I heard that story.

      I was thinking today about your poem "The Time Here"....the crabapples and shadows have stayed with me. I love your work very much and appreciate your support.

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Jamie---Hello and thank you! I appreciate your comment very much. :-)

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Reba---Your comment means so much to me, truly. Thank you for commenting on the heart of the poem and for honoring me so much with your response. I seek that world too. I thank you for making me feel like my words and my grief for others' suffering matter somehow. I wish I could do more for the wrongly imprisoned than write a poem. I don't go a day without thinking that what I have (little as it is by my culture's standards) is miraculous compared to those who are at the mercy of cruel people.

      Blessings to you too,

      Lurana

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      kidscrafts---I very much appreciate your comments and support today...thank you so much for your kind response. :-)

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      Valleypoet 4 years ago

      The thought of a child not having ever seen a bird is so very sad...a beautifully crafted piece:-))

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 4 years ago from Reno NV

      Very powerful piece of work, thank you for sharing. Jamie

    • Dancing Water profile image

      Dancing Water 4 years ago

      This so so powerful! Oh, my gosh, indeed it is cruel to tell anyone of something they may never have. Thus, one must help the beloved to appreciate what they do have,.

      I

      cry as I write this. I am so deeply touched by your compassion and loving heart. You truly get it. You truly empathize with the suffering of innocents.

      I seek a world where lullabies are not needed, where the truth is beautiful__not the ugly truth that we humans have created for each other and all living creatures.

      I love this poem so much. I will keep it near to my heart always.

      Thank you so much for caring so deeply, and for being willing to express that kind heart of yours.

      Blessings,

      Reba

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      So, so beautiful! There are no other words!

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Eric---Thank you for reading!

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Sheri--Thank you for your lovely comment! :-)

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image
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      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Bill---Thank you! :-)

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thanks

    • Sheri Faye profile image

      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Your poetry is just beautiful. I bet you have a lovely soul!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wow! That was beautiful! To say anything more would be to detract from that one word...beautiful!