The Parrot and the Dove
Inside, beyond the pane, behind the bars,
he’s in his tight suit of matt-grey chain-mail,
clacking the keyless padlock of his beak,
flaring his crimson molten-metal tail.
She flutters unfettered across an open sky.
Her black velvet collar is undone. Her scale,
her shape, her shade, suggest she’s his far sister,
set up the parallel, the glib freedom-fable.
But what if the tiny birdcage of her self
is utter, inescapable constraint?
What if his dark eyes easily encompass
a world unwalled, unroofed and infinite?
The Parrot and the Dove by Mark Totterdell was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (May 2019) judged by Terry Jones.