“Don’t believe the chaffinch,” my mother told me,

hands slack in linen tangles.

“They know so little of our world,

so little of your world,

so little of any world men tread.

Imagine always looking up,

or always looking down,

never along stranger scopes.

Can you imagine a world without level understanding,

without eye-to-eye,

without seeing as another person does?

As another person can?

How can the chaffinch think?

They have no lessons, no masters, no books!

Their nature divides them from us,

but we divine their nature,

we divine our own!

And might we mistake in our proclaims

and could a chaffinch be other,

other than what we divine if there were books?”

Written for The Daily Prompt –  Surreal


  1. Beautifully written poetry with a beautiful sentiment.
    I was once watching my bird table when this happened…

    the crazy Chaffinch
    with all the sky to choose from ~
    flew at the window


  2. I really really like this. I love how you use an animal as seemingly simple as a bird to highlight our attempts as humans to interpret things we can’t know. At least that’s how I read your poem. Anyway, it’s really a great piece of writing!


    1. Thank you, this is the exact sort of feedback that I wanted to receive about this poem.
      It’s nice to see how closely your interpretation ran to my own intentions in writing this.


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