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Speak softly, motherless sparrow;
Daintily shuffle closer.
Tiptoe on your fragile talons
And lend me your patient ear.
But beware:
Your infantile feet might elicit one of nature’s ruses.
Beware the deceivers, my friend.
Be mindful of those who point you on your way,
For they may misguide you.
Beware even the wise, the learned, and the elder;
To you they know nothing.
Do not refrain from leaving your nest as you have just done,
And don’t hesitate to serve as an envoy from one land to the next,
Fashioning conduits of knowledge between niches.
Go discover this land for yourself;
From canopy to base;
Understory to shrub;
from forest to desert;
flying beyond frontiers.
Be friendly but unattached.
Need nothing, but learn everything,
And accept nothing but what you discover.
Share what you learn through example and action
And if you need, divulge your wisdom to a hungry mind.
Be brave yet humble; limit your words and be clandestine with your choosing,
As if with every utterance from your tender beak, you have one less sound to speak.
But spare yourself: Don’t waste syllables on the arrogant or the conceited;
The confused or the oblivious.
Pursue only the people you want to steal your knowledge,
And even so, be taboo in the astuteness you share.
Beggars will shake their cup of sympathy before you,
Provoking nourishment from your guilty, unfledged conscience;
It is your choice whether to spare them a slice of your mind.
If you look hard enough, you can find those listeners;
But most of all, speak softly, motherless sparrow;
For that’s how the listeners will find you.

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