They jump into your chaos
By the dense mesh your cage
Of invisible barbs presents;
Built through years of to and fro,
Up and down against
The same cold fence.
Pushed on again
And always again
By that needle voice
Shaped of myelin and synapse,
Amplified by experience
‘Walkies!’ it cries and back you went,
To dangled collar and lead
Gathering more spurs to weave
Your own briar thicket.
No faerie curse is here princess,
You’re your own cruel gaoler,
Architect of mess.
But they come on crooked wings-
Tattered feathers stained
By blood and wine and pain-
Stronger for beating against
The rules they give the bird to.
Battle-drunk they come, striding through
The tangles in which princes flounder.
And laughter, the defiant screech
Of fearsome ravens, furious owls,
Fills and warms the dusty halls
Of your imprisoned heart.
~Polly Oliver (2017)