The Old Ways

I mistake my anger
At humanity
For anger
At the world.

The structures
The paradigms
All sick
The connection
Bred, enslaved, and molested.

And I forget
The morning birdsong,
The flowers bejeweled
In dew,
The wind whipping trees
In ecstatic dance.

I forget the creek, the stream,
The river,
The migrating of fish.
I forget the mating dance,
The ritual of building
The perfect nest.
I forget the scrutiny,
Of the tiny bird as she decides,
Not this one,
You’re not ready,
Not yet.

Her wings take her
far to the better,
The ready,
The practiced and prepared,
She doesn’t subjugate to
Less than because her flock
Tells her so,
She doesn’t
Naked, belly up, like prey.
She uses her power, her wings
And she flies far
Far away,
Where she’s safe.

See, we’ve forgotten
The secret of nature,
The power, the hiding,
The chase, the claws
Of our mother
Willing to die
To defend her young.

We’ve forgotten the lessons
Of nature
Stay strong, stay tough
Bold, true to our
essence, instinct, our loud
and noble song.

And we suffer
We lament
We hate
We despair
And we want to leave all of it
We desperate cry
No more!

But do not forget the thicket
The lark
The wave
The tide
The moon
Breathe in and out
And on and on.

Remember your purpose
In the returning
The morning song,
Remember your mission,
In instinct,
Your retreat to the old ways
Which were never
Ever wrong.

-Angel Marie Russell

Photo: Baya Weavers

“The male bird builds the nest half way after which he tries to seduce the female by his courtship displays. If the female is interested, she will examine the uncompleted nest, after which he will complete building it or both will work together.” -


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