The Bird and the Forgotten


The great train grumbled into Braunschweig station, almost reluctant to break its journey through the heartland of Eastern Germany. Grey green, grey green, it went, the sprawling farmlands contrasting sharply with the gunmetal urban decay of its forgotten towns. 

I sat in my compartment, contemplating the day. A long day, filled with the miasma of endless travel that would take me from post-communist poverty to the sun-kissed shores of Spain. Eventually. After a cursory glance along the platform, I returned my gaze to the novel I had wisely brought along to forestall the boredom, when suddenly a soft thud and a flurry of feathers in my peripheral vision caused me to look outside.  

A tiny, imperceptible mark on the carriage window was the only clue…..I looked down and saw a still, feathered form on the platform. Then, slowly, very slowly, it began to regain its wits, and sat, stunned, alone and abandoned on  the platform, a sparrow of sorts, I think, though ornithology is not one of my strong points. 

It looked like a confused traveller that had alighted at the wrong stop. More than a little frightened, it glanced around worriedly.  The train made ready for departure, and I found myself urging it to wait, that I could longer observe and witness the outcome for this poor unfortunate. 

It became apparent that it was severely injured, for it moved not an inch, and the feet of a thousand impatient travellers, unaware, were perilously close. The train conductor paced backwards, carriage by carriage, purposefully along the platform. I held my breath…he signalled the impending departure, as he walked, backwards, ever backwards, his boots coming down mere millimetres from the bird. 

I realised then….like an epiphany, I was witnessing a metaphor for modern life and the victims that fall beneath the cracks. Powerless to alter their destiny….ignored by the masses…and life, hanging by the slenderest of threads.   

Words by Kev Moore 

Art by Miki Copyright 2007


4 Responses to “The Bird and the Forgotten”

  1. This, “I was witnessing a metaphor for modern life and the victims that fall beneath the cracks. Powerless to alter their destiny….ignored by the masses…and life, hanging by the slenderest of threads,” turned me right around on the spot. Yes. This I am interested in and this I seek to answer myself. But when one has given it a go and has come up good and the writing clear, I am always grateful to the writer for creating the “space” for me to think beyond.

    Well done Kev and well, Miki you always amaze!

    The Bird and the Forgotten
    Bird post…Great Team Work

  2. Thanks for that Michael. Indeed, it was that very experience that I described that was a useful tool to help me to “think beyond.”

  3. Hi kevmoore.

    Your story reminds me of a similar story that my grandmother once told me. Many years ago in the dead of a German winter, her father was working extra shifts at the railroad yard. He was a dispatcher, but due to inclement weather, not enough workers were on hand. A train came in, and needed to be uncoupled, and recoupled. My great grandfather was the only one available to do the job. In the blinding snowstorm he went out, and unhooked the boxcars. The conductor of the train (later tried and convicted of being drunk at the time) misread the lantern signal by the man at the back of the train. He reversed the train, and my great grandfather was crushed to death between the cars. He left behind his wife and eight children including my grandmother who was five at the time.

    A sad tale no doubt. I so related your last paragraph to it.

  4. Lisa, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. Your tale of your Great-Grandfather touched me.

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