Eyes of the Night

Feather Breath
Words Fly In

Starry Sky

Let all the words go.

They come from elsewhere

and long ago, are immigrants here.

They should return to their faraway homes.

They should fly up to city balconies

and preen there,

or land like a big shadow on the cornfield,

and pick among the stalks.

–Chase Twitchell

(The Wisdom Anthology of North American Buddhist Poetry edited by Andrew Schelling, p.336)

Words as Birds

This is the last stanza of her poem “Topiary Rooster.” Twitchell is a poet who has studied Buddhism.  Her poetic imagery depicting words as birds is noteworthy. Interestingly enough, before reading this poem, I wrote my last article “Words Fly In” using words-as-birds imagery. So before my words take wing and merge with the sunset, I want to listen to the song of these ancient immigrants.

Ancient Immigrants

Words are ancient. Scholars disagree on how or when language originated. Mythologically, divine language came before human language. Certain birds symbolize the divine in a number of world mythologies. In Egyptian mythology, the sky-god Horus was shown as falcon-headed. Out of his right eye shone the sun. Out of his left eye shone the moon.

The Horus myth inspired the following creation-myth poem:

Eyes of the Night

words as sunlight

fly from his right eye

words as moonlight

fly from his left eye


into the black sky


birthing stars

soft gold

bright silver

eyes of the night

Photo Credit: Photo by Danny Thompson at Flickr Creative Commons.

Feather Breath
Words Fly In

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