The Mountain Birds

The Mountain Birds

Because they do not know,
      because they do not know or dare to fly
the empty sky,
they spend their lives, wings beating,
on narrow outcrops of experience,
gripping with thin feet
the jutting rocks, the edges
of my personality.
Through eyes slitted with anxiety
they see a world that tilts
      and spins.
When startled to flight,
(gliding over deep gorges)
they gaze only downward, then soon return,
sinking their sharp claws in the crevices
      of my nature,
building their wild nests in places where I soften.
Like these glacial peaks, I remain always still,
without their beaked insecurity,
their skittish energy,
while my mind, lost in silence,
      soars far above.
Because I am there
offering shelter from the vastness,
because I let them rest
in a portion of myself,
they think they possess me
as though the talons of their love
could close around the sky.

– Chidananda Burke.


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