“The Allegory of the Parakeet”


There was once this little parakeet

who was kept inside a cage made of stained glass.

She never went outside even though the door was unlocked.

Not because she doesn’t know how to…

but because she doesn’t want to.

Captivated was she by the dancing figures she sees inside her cage.

Warped by the beautiful colors and patterns of the stained glass,

she witnessed the dancing of two graceful ballerinas,

making pirouettes and muffled sounds that, to the parakeet,

seemed like an orchestral background to the routine.

Every night she watches this display of movements clothed with color

and she marveled at the beauty of it all.

She even memorized the blurred waltzing of the dancers, copied it

from her perch inside the cage. Imagine a dancing parakeet.

But one day, a gust of wind blew her door open.

Thinking that it was a sign from God she flew outside her cage

to meet her ballerinas. She flapped her bright, green wings and

wiggled her long feather tail as if she was not a parakeet

but a puppy that waits for his master.

And as she passed the frame of her door she almost shouted…

not chirped, not warbled… shouted.

The two ballerinas she longed to see were actually brutish ogres

locked in an eternal battle, bloodied and hurt, but still fighting.

The sounds they made made the parakeet’s fragile bones shiver.

They were roars, grunts, growls. Horrific. Not an orchestra.

The parakeet wept until she ran out of tears to shed.

If only she had known what was really outside.

And now, as if Plato is narrating this parakeet’s story,

the tiny bird flew back to her allegorical cage.

She was terrified by what was outside and never wished to leave.

Now, as she watched the dancing ballerinas in the stained glass,

the parakeet dreaded reality but loved the dream it shows her.

She blocked out all the sounds except for the one inside her head

saying “Dreams are better than reality.”

If only she could hear the humble narrator’s whisper.

“Reality is just a dream you have to live through. Be strong.”



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