Hunched upon humped back,
buried grin in grizzle beard,
in a crumpled streaky olive coat,
the Beaubourg bird man, like a dove,
stands alone amidst the Zen of birds.
Each wanders up, one-by-one,
cautiously wanting, uncaringly needy,
hungering towards something that he’s got:
either the seed or crumb.
Wings on wings all gathering,
frizzled, lustless, wanton, bald,
with a woman’s charity of smiles
he gives out pieces of himself.
O, wise fool—
O, sad old clown—
Now, by the birds, you have drawn a crowd,
lookers wondering at strange art
perhaps to help us ask ourselves
why we stopped.
It is not that we should pity him, I think.
It is not that he left the world, our own, behind.
It is when the ones who give so much
leave so little for themselves
that it is hard.
It is a suggestion to us all.
Find a friend when at your most alone,
and give like this.
At least the birds won’t let you down.