Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Bird song . . .

He calls the birds down
from the sky, first one,
then another. They perch
on the topmost branches
peering down, as if to see
into his heart and know
with a final certainty
where they belong
in this net of sound
which is part of the trees,
the water, the sun, and in the morning,
this desert altar, replete with conches,
rattles, wooden staves carved
into birds that lift
like waking dreams into the sky,
leaving behind a sweet taste
that lingers, something familiar,
unforgettable, a profound breath
that parts the air in waves
like the wings of birds
moving up, circling once,
twice, carrying my sorrows away.

This poem came from an afternoon hike through the Reserva Ecologica de Chaparri near Chiclayo, Peru. Our hike began with Thomas, our guide from Moche Tours, literally calling the birds down out of the sky by imitating different bird calls. We meandered through the reserve, where we met a deer along the trail, saw the nearly extinct spectacled bears, a burrowing owl, and two condors. We then stopped by a shaman's house to talk briefly of ancient healing rituals. The words "waking dreams" come from this week's prompt from Carry On Tuesday.