With heartfelt thanks to my friend and amazing artist Cristina Mazzoni (MCM arts), here are her wonderful watercolors of a variety of birds found in Sicily as the backdrop for my reading of Birds of Sicily, the title poem from my collection of the same name.
I love when collaboration takes place like this so effortlessly. Every single day I look forward to Cristina’s amazing artwork, often representations of the natural world, paired with exquisite poetry from all of the poetic giants the world over. When she approached me about the idea for this little “movie” I felt so honored—she is such a huge talent and I am humbled. Her birds are so real in their rendering, so soulful and free.
My collection of poems, Birds of Sicily uses the metaphor of migratory and birds of flight to tell, in poems, the story of a man, my grandfather who fled Sicily and feared vendetta for his entire life.
If I juxtapose this with the refugees of today, I can see even in flight one is not free. It is hard to shake the chains of hatred, resentment and displacement, often what they find in most of the places in which they land.
Birds , to a certain extent can be free, because they have wings that can lift, propel and keep them in flight. But they are also caged, hunted and susceptible to many things that can harm them when they are out of their habitat.
In that way, humans — refugees, are like birds, too. Under great duress they flee for better , higher ground, but can never really know, ahead of time, what they will find