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Submitted on
August 30, 2010
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My father strangled a bird
quietly, calm as gravity,
there in the garden. He bent
as if praying to the torqued wing
reddening his hand.

The night hunkered down on the screaming
wildness, on the kicking legs, the abrupt
and awe-filled silence. I watched him
watch the beak open, close,
like rippling lake water.

I loved him, the mercy
of his heavy knuckles, the kindly
indifferent expression.

He closed the beak like a priest
closes the eyes.
Heart of Jesus, once in agony,
have mercy on the dying.
-Catholic Prayer for the dying


The heck, this got a DD? Thanks y'all. My previous DDs can be found here: [link] [link] [link] [link]
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Daily Deviation

Given 2013-06-30
Blessing by ~saartha ( Suggested by pinballwitch and Featured by Beccalicious )
:iconjswebb:
jswebb Dec 2, 2013   Writer
I do not know how I missed this piece, but man, it packs a wallop. As one who just had to euthanize a baby squirrel, I feel a poignancy looming. This poem resonated with me greatly.
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:iconsaartha:
saartha Dec 2, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you. There are a few lines in here that I'm really fond of. A few not so much. It could do with a rewrite, no doubt.
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:iconimagoinfinitum:
imagoinfinitum Jul 11, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Damn, I took it as the 'father' being an embodiment of some authoritative, organized deity, and I took the bird as the common man without conditioned thought, a 'free-thinker', either or, very nice!
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:iconpatrikia-bear:
Patrikia-Bear Jul 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow, very striking. I thought it was animal abuse at first and then I realized that it was a mercy killing, to save the animal from more misery. Wow.
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:iconsaartha:
saartha Jul 1, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
That's pretty much why I wrote the first line like that--I wanted that visceral 'oh shit why would he do that', and then the soothing-out.
Thanks for the comment :)
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:iconaconitum-napellus:
Aconitum-Napellus Jul 1, 2013  Professional Writer
This is beautiful. My dad recently had to perform a similar mercy killing on our goose, so this had extra meaning for me. And it was quite evident that that was what this poem was about - there was mercy in every line.
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:iconsaartha:
saartha Jul 1, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I thought most people had experienced something like this at some point or another, but other comments are making me second-guess that assumption :lol:
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:iconstale-serenity:
stale-serenity Jun 30, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I think your father has a compassionate heart towards animals, regardless of the fact that he killed the bird. When an animal is maimed in that way, the only merciful thing to do is to end its suffering.

Your poem expresses that compassion in its closing lines. It's beautifully constructed and powerful in its simplicity. Congratulations on your DD. :)
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:iconsaartha:
saartha Jul 1, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Really, the whole thing can boil down to a single phrase: my father, who is kind.

Thank you so much :)
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:iconsnapdragoon:
I remember once, when I was younger, a starling nest with hatchlings in it fell down, and not daring to interfere with the course of nature for whatever reason, I watched them die slowly. Things like that tend to make an impact on you.

Beautiful poem, by the way.
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