A hoopoe dreams of the spider
and beetle, the wings of a butterfly
over magnetic maps of the landmarks
of smells and sounds. And if you asked me
how to navigate, I would tell you,
in flight, to follow the brightest star.
This is why a hoopoe worships the sun,
like Sheba, prostrate in submission
to its fury - yet then, when he speaks
to kings, he reports idolatry
and the hair on a queen's legs.
This is the wisdom of a hoopoe -
to mould the clay of its words
to circumstance in hoop-hoo
beneath a dishonest crown of truth.
There is safety in conformity;
to please according to the needs
of your audience, and a necessity
if your blood is ink and your entrails,
a talisman. Such memories
are the inheritance hissed and spat
by chicks from roosts, who will learn
to use their beaks as weapons for duels.
If I was a hoopoe,
I would also wear the comb
of an offended woman, conceal
myself in the mystery of a dust bath and
nest in the peace of a weeping palm.
Image is from here: https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hoopoe_bird_watercolour.jpg
Here is also a video of a hoopoe sunbathing if you're interested - https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=d1AklDsPc70