The Bird of Freedom Jon Plunkett

The Bird of Freedom  (Hirundo rustica)

We have tried to cage it
with our words and superstitions,
poured the devil's blood
into its veins and forked tail.
We tether it to summer,
have it bring spring on the wing
and turned its mud and spit
into portents of protection.
A bird in the hand's worth two
in the bush we say, but a swallow
on your shoulder spells magic.

But this bird cannot be held
in superstition's cage.
It cannot endure captivity.
It must cross desert sands, flit
miles of open sea to join again
in the clear north air.
It needs to fickle over fields
of ripe corn, to feed
and drink on the wing,
to dance the full width of sky.
Surely that is magic enough.





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