Varieties of Flight
There, in the air--traceless blue--arena of circuits And saunters, some rise with difficulty 'While others lift buoyant, tack of tail turned Westward--take wide air under their keel, And sprint, shoot and sail up to where, in invisible Gyres they revolve tropical or northern, Spreading their full breadth to survey the scene, Their prey hidden in land folded and patched; Others, tail-sure tuck and dive, fall in a single tear, Against a stony silhouette of hill; others In wind jibe and yaw, storm-wise, head into Air as prows take the jab and flack of waves-- But some are threaded by thin parachute, line of silk, They soar only when bidden, cross a width Of draft, but hang when the wind is becalmed And suspended; still others come from deeper Hues--leap into air as if seeking a higher realm, Where hidden stars crown a miraculous Dome of blue--fly on their fins, and their short Leap is the curve of Noah's colored arc: Still for others, flight is trammeled--rooted, as fires lift Only in sparks, but are held fast to their Flames; and sound flies blindly over distance, But cannot renew the force of its thrust; Sight sweeps and tempers rise; tall grasses bend and Rumors mount; winds wind over, as insects Hover, and stars speed free under frail failing Night, while fleet tongues tell their tales-- And Knowledge--poor earth-bound ember--sails, But fails to ignite.
Copyright © 2002 by Ellen Hinsey. Reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press. All rights reserved.