Thursday, February 17, 2011

Birds and Empty Metaphors

An idea has been fluttering around in my head all week: bird metaphors. More specifically, I've been thinking about why we use birds to symbolize emotional freedom. This all came about after I found a song by Laura Marling, Dharohar Project, and Mumford & Sons called "Meheni Rachi." It combines Folk music with traditional Rajasthani music, which I thought was amazing, but what really stuck with me were the first English lines:
Perhaps I'll be a bird one day, if I'm good enough
And I'll get up and fly away and give up all this stuff.
I listened to it over and over. The music and words made me feel light and well, free. I could almost imagine myself as a bird, gliding, the sun warming my outstretched wings. Free as a bird . . . until I remembered I don't like birds.

For so long I accepted the bird metaphor. My ipod has at least three songs using a bird metaphor for the chorus and I can easily name a few more songs to add to the list, but why? I've never really liked birds and I admit that I'm biased--an ostrich pecking my heels and a summer of them swooping down at my head--but besides the whole flying thing, what about the bird is that appealing? I mean, do you really want to be like a bird? Molting, eating worms and other bugs, jerking your neck when you walk? Let's just say if I were an animagus, I wouldn't be the feathery kind. As far as I'm concerned, birds only represent disease and jerky movements. And that means I'm in search of a new metaphor.

 To support my point:

1 comment:

Clancy Clawson said...

The dream of the 90s is alive in Portland.