They were tired of being harnessed to little golden boxes that were engraved with myths and fables. Weary of their lives as painted automatons, they sought escape from tiny dungeons laden with springs and suspensions. Yet for all their longing, they remained trapped beneath covers heavy with enameled stories.
And when those covers were lifted, they would revolve around metallic lakes like sad stars. They sang the one song that was wired into their bodies by jewelers holding needles and razors. And it was frustrating – for what did a man who split diamonds and steal pearls from gaping oysters know about singing? How could he know about the sting of cold air cutting through one's wings; the DNA-driven desire to fly magnificent, exhausting distances; the terrible yearing for the powdery clouds and fish-scented oceans – to find a home in the dark, piercing trees?
They wanted to leave their pretty prisons. Trapped by a delicate industry, they longed to see beyond the dressing table's vista; to fly away from the mirror's vast horizon; to avoid the mechanical prancing of a stranger's imagination. But there was an anatomy to their wishes that was as complex as the arabesques decorating their despised homes.
However, desire can be stupendous and endless: like the earth, like the sky. It can be very strong. So on the morning when the music box was opened once more, to the owner's surprise it was silent. Slender wires and chains lay like unattached jesses after the falcon has gone to sleep.
And this explains the remarkably tiny birds I saw one morning, dancing through the branches, singing of their gratitude, making the leaves flutter with joy.