Thursday, November 30, 2006

Poetry Thursday: Walls That Talk

This week I planned to explore the prompt at Poetry Thursday, but events at work upset my timetable for the week, so I am posting an existing poem, along with a photo of the memorial that inspired it. Come to think of it, it's a wall. So maybe this post is about walls that talk to me after all!

Almost Icarus

Icarus greets me each morning
still falling headlong
into a sea of flowers.
Lichen tips his feathers gold.

At my desk I tally numbers
while planes take off overhead.
At noon I walk past rows of flags –
the koru, the kangaroo, the golden bird
tethered to a pole.
I want to fly almost too close to the sun,
see temples and monuments,
marketplaces, beaches and jungles.

I want to return and put on my life
like a shabby old coat
and find how warm it is,
how soft.



Icarus in bas relief on a memorial to airmen of the second world war: "to those who flew and fell". It is situated near the approach road to Christchurch Airport, and I pass it on my way to work.

24 comments:

Superhero Activist said...

I like this concept: taking something you see everyday and bringing it to life, telling its story.

I loved your description of the bas relief, it was so completely true and yet it gave it an entirely new beauty, one given the breath of life from your perspective.

ecm said...

I really like both the flying over the parts of the world and the return to the coat. Very nice.

Dana said...

Oh god this is good. I almost hate you for your ability to write an opening stanza like this one. It has everything. Myth, lichen. And the way you take that monument and make it move, bring it to life, then bring the whole poem back around to you and your life. And not a single unnecessary word in the poem.

Totally jealous.

Catherine said...

Dana, I really appreciate that compliment coming from you, since I admire your poetry so much

Brian said...

Hi Catherine,

Very nice poem, I've never seen a wall like that. Imagine falling forever like that. Amazing poem, thanks for sharing.

secretagentartist said...

I love this. I've read it 4 times now. Evoking Icarus early, you get all this back story into the piece, but then you really run with it-or should I say fly?!

Love the last stanza: life like an old shabby coat that is warm and soft-how beautiful.

Thanks for stopping at mine-it would have probably taken me much longer to find you if you hadn't.

Poet with a Day Job said...

This is great - I love ending with that photo, because the poem was so full of images and had such a strong emotional through line...then, there it is, the tumbling Icarus. Very nice.

pepektheassassin said...

You're right! It fits the prompt. Sometimes (like now in snowy Utah) walls are safe and warm and welcome! A very good poem! Thanks for the photo, too.

ren.kat said...

Lovely. Simply Lovely.

la vie en rose said...

beautiful! i think if i were going to plunge to the earth with my wings on fire i'd like to land in a field of flowers...

Star said...

this could easily have been meant for the prompt from the beginning. the monument is a fitting memorial.

my favorite bit is "return and put on my life like a shabby old coat and find how warm it is" adventure and exploration are exciting, but it is good to touch base with "home"

Deb R said...

What a beautiful poem. And I love the fact that even though it is one of your existing ones instead of written for the challenge, it fits the prompt perfectly and yet in a different way than most poems would. Impressive, C!!

leonie said...

Oooh, I love it! The first three lines drew me in and I couldn't let go.

Heather said...

I like the things that have been noted here already, but also the sound and rhythm of the line "the koru, the kangaroo, the golden bird"

Claire said...

Such a moving poem. I like how you've taken something you see every day and reminded yourself why it is special. It is so easy to take these things for granted and forget their purpose.

Bice Sagan said...

The cycles of your day. Love the images you chose to represent it.

Carmi said...

How profoundly sad, and how profoundly beautiful your imagery is.

chiefbiscuit said...

I like the way the poem ends - and that particular image of Icarus is quite familiar to me too having driven past it a number of times - but not as much as you do, all the same. Does us good to be reminded of our frailties? flaws? dashed hopes and dreams ... a daily reminder would be extra special. As long as we can view it positively!

Mitch McDad said...

Thanks. I enjoyed your poem. It wasn't pretentious..if you know what I mean. It was calming to me.

My friend just took a trip to New Zeland from and he absolutely loved it. I hope to visit someday.

kenju said...

I love the last part of the poem, Catherine, about putting on your life and finding out how comfortable it is. A very nice analogy.

Michele sent me.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Beautifully written; great imagery.

Michele sent me here.

Bob-kat said...

This is a very apt memorial for airmen. This wall certainly 'talks' and your imagery is lovely.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I'll pop by again sometime.

paris parfait said...

Absolutely beautiful piece, Catherine. Thank you.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Lovely poem, I always think the story of Icarus is a particularly interesting one. Its a beautiful memorial too to all those fallen airmen.