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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Concentration (07/24/08)

TITLE: Up in Smoke
By Emily Gibson
07/30/08


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"There are too many
Our communities are overrun
They must be annihilated-
Erased from the earth."

Imported to Central Park on a whim
To bring Shakespeare's references to life
A chosen 30 pairs of starlings became millions
Creative, adaptive, aggressive survivors.

Iridescent black plumage
Concentrated in flocks of thousands as if
Undulating in smoke plumes against a dusky sky
Like liquid amoeba, elongating and bunching enmasse.

"They are a pestilence, unwelcome and unwanted
They must be identified, rounded up,
Trapped and eliminated
To remove their influence from society."

Fruit gathered innocently
From nurturing orchards
Used to line the snares, to entice flocks
To eat together, never to fly again.

The government traps cleverly disguised as feeders
Close over the birds, plunging them into darkness
Then gassed, they totter and fall
Atop each other, piled without pity, then burned.

"We must eliminate fifty percent of the population annually
To control their proliferation and the damage they inflict.
Their kind is not wanted, not needed
There are too many."

The concentration of the reviled and hated
Continues: enticed, led, fed, trapped and
Gassed; finally escaping to the sky
In an undulating black plume of smoke

Yet again.


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This article has been read 453 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Holly Westefeld07/31/08
Profound and brilliant, if this is intended to be as symbolic as I am inferring; still very good, even if it is only about birds, which I doubt.
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/02/08
This requires a second reading to search for meaning of the symbolism of the destruction of the birds in this profound poem. I'd love to hear your explanation.
Sharlyn Guthrie08/04/08
Wow! Excellent imagery. Profound, well-written piece!
Carole Robishaw 08/06/08
Very good, I found myself wondering who the birds were standing in for.
Yvonne Blake 08/06/08
Very sobering! I caught the symbolism from the first stanza.
The form was hard for me to read. But, maybe with the theme of the poem, it shouldn't have flowed smoothly.
Thank you for writing this.