The Bird on Fire [A Poem]

The Bird on Fire [A Poem] March 2, 2024
IMAGE: Keith Giles [MidJourney]
This is where we found him
The bird on fire
Wings ablaze among the leaves
Flying between the daylight and the dawn of another day
This is where he lay down to die
Where he folded his wings in the dark
And said “enough”
This is where we let him lie alone
Undisturbed and growing cold
Wisps of smoke and steam rising from his wings
Like unanswered question marks
Circling and dancing
Disappearing in the shadows
We stood silent
Afraid to speak
Unsure of ourselves
The words unspoken in our mouths
Dying on our tongues
This is where the darkness fell
And this is where our sadness grew
Are we so powerless
to stop the dying of the light?
Will the sunlight always fade into darkness?
Or will there be another dawn?
Will the daylight break anew
when our hopes rise again?
And now we stand here in our circle
We spread our fingers outward
Fingers searching
Like an unspoken question
We touch, we grasp
We receive our handful
Of quiet hope
We hold tight
We become one
We know we are not alone
In this moment we become the circle
And the swaying begins, filled with
Colors that strobe behind our eyes,
We remember.
We believe.
Waiting now
This is where he breathed his last.
This is where his last words
Were whispered in the dark
And this is where our voices
Finish the sentence
Find another verse
Carry on the song
Knowing everything
Is movement
And everything
Goes on.
[Dedicated to Aaron Bushnell] 2/25/2024
Keith Giles
While I wrote this poem above the same day Aaron Bushnell set himself on fire to protest the genocide in Gaza, I must confess I did not know it had happened at the time I sat down to write this. It was only later, after someone read it on my Facebook page and mentioned the similarities to what happened that day in front of the Israeli Embassy in Washington D.C., that I realized the images and thoughts had some accidental relevancy. Nevertheless, I share this poem in memory of his great sacrifice and pray that his act of courage is not in vain.
Free Palestine.

Keith Giles is the best-selling author of the Jesus Un series. He has appeared on CNN, USA Today, BuzzFeed, and John Fugelsang’s “Tell Me Everything.” He hosts the Second Cup with Keith podcast, and co-hosts the Apostates Anonymous podcast, and the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast.

His latest book, Second Cup with Keith is available now on Amazon HERE>

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