Poem: Heard mentality

I heard a little bird, who sang the truth about the world today;
he said that lies were spreading like sickness,
and that he was nearly caught up in such deceitful wind.
It caused a great fear, hysteria among the flock.
He told the story but it landed on deaf ears.
The louder this little bird’s shrills, the more they didn’t listen,
not hearing that ‘the lies’ were the sickness,
and indeed not another kind of sickness.
Confused, the Truth hurt their ears, thus stoking more fears.

Elders died which stoked the fires. Of guessing. Of nodding.
Of yessing. It must be this. It must be that.
Not waiting for nature to tell them.

More of the feathered persuasion fell from the sky,
and word reached the cows whose gossip
and here-say spread out far and wide across the pasture.
Their home was infected. The wiser of them defected
from dangerous speech.
They too saw the elderly die. From sickness? They pondered.
Others guessed it was mysterious causes.
Cows with the greater wisdom ruled out any punishment by God.
Yet, a pall was cast. They asked, “what do the birds know of the greater skies
we cannot see?
Our view is only of the land, the land on which we stand.
Does the land move, or do we?
What they say must be truth.
For if there is danger, what if, we do not heed their warning?”

A few more cows died from fright, too old, their hearts gave way.
And so a greater number,
this small anomaly caused great bawling, great mooing,
and that with the birds flying south,
gave them fewer answers.

Without warning, and without order,
the fences were toppled by a stampede.
“No pens will trap us in an ever widening sickness,” they said.
In the height of winter, a darker season,
they found themselves in fewer numbers.
Some trampled. Some separated.
Not knowing where they were for sure,
they wandered and wondered in the cold,
moving farther from the farm,
and maybe closer to more maybe stranger harm.

Stricken by their own doing,
they kept that part to themselves.
Instead blaming the birds.
The hay, cornstalks and water were gone.
Soon, so soon would their chances at survival,
as an ice storm only worsened.
Time it blended as the sun sped across the sky;
Weeks passed.
Just when all seemed lost and bleak,
they spied lights swinging back and forth
through the pitch black of night
peppered with the white wind-blown snow flakes.

The farmer and his hands, dressed in red baseball caps,
had found them.
The grinding engine of a truck came to a hissing stop.
Hay was dropped in front of them. After their fill…
They were loaded in a livestock trailer.

Once back in the pasture,
they established a rule
about getting to the bottom of the truth first,
and be careful about what could sway,
the heard mentality.

Published by: frankmarquezwritings

I'm a writer, and have been for most of my adult life. Without making this sound like a resume, I wrote creatively in college, dabbling in poetry, short stories and play writing. Later, I became a journalist, public affairs specialist, copy editor and eventually a guy who ran his own newspaper. Now, I'm back to letting my imagination run wild in some new creations including a science-fiction novel. Somehow, I also managed to teach English to high school kids, and roam the battlefields of Afghanistan as a field historian. Field historian may be a misnomer considering all I did was write abstracts summarizing military unit profiles and missions that included hundreds of interviews of troops and contractors in combat. I grew up in a small town called Gering, Nebraska, before escaping to Pomona, California, where I spent my last two years of high school, graduating from Ganesha High School in 1983. I have a Bachelors in English from the University of La Verne (1987), and a Masters in Education from UNLV (2007). In between, I worked for government - the Army and TSA. I served tours in Panama, D.C., and Tokyo, all thanks to a teacher who encouraged me to see the world before I settled down. As hobbies, I run, hike and bicycle long distances. I have also been known to surf and ski. I now live in my hometown after moving back in June 2015. I get to see family on a regular basis, breath fresh air, and not have to ride the D.C. metro or get stuck in traffic. In fact, I ride my bicycle whenever I can. I'm happily married to my wife Lisa, and we watch over a pack of fur babies, our dog Charley, and three cats Spike, Bootsy, and Franky (his shelter name). If you should ever visit me in west Nebraska, be prepared to feast your eyes on paradise.

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