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Birdman Teaches No

Dreamed 1985/7/11 by "Miriel" as told to Wayan

My brother and I wade through wild rye
behind our home, out to the canyon rim.

Here that bird-man, tall, spiky, gray,
steel-claw-handed, trains us to say
"NO" loud and firm.
He warns "I'll pierce your throat
unless you learn.
Shout or be muted. Bird, sing!"

At last we howl as passionate as bird.
Nay-saying, we leap head-high! I did
not resent his threat. A needed prod.
But now that we flutterhop, I get mad--
For our tutor keeps one talon-hand
on my heel to grip and guide a tad.

Unneeded! I'm a fledgling ready to go
Higher. Alone. So I sing out: "NO!"


My sister Miriel told me this dream years ago; the poem's based on my notes, which weren't clear if she actually yelled NO at our strange mentor, or woke just as she decided to. Either way, she'd clearly graduated--two weeks later she dreamt she flew in the form of a giant falcon.

--Chris Wayan

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