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.