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.
(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.
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
eyes of the night
Photo Credit: Photo by Danny Thompson at Flickr Creative Commons.