That I might fly away





Susan Stewart

If you could have wings would you want them?

           I don’t know.

I mean, if you could use them to fly, would you want them?

           Yes, if I could fly.

But they would be really big.

           How big?

They might brush against your knees as you walked, or be bigger than some doorways.
And what if you couldn’t even take them off?

          I still would want them.

If you couldn’t take them off, even if you were going somewhere, or going to bed, or eating at a table, or you wanted to pick someone up, you could never take them off?

          Yes, I would. I would still want them.

Because you could fly?

          Yes, because of the flying.

And if they were heavy, and even if no one else had them, and even if your children and their children didn’t have them?

          Yes, I think so.

But you would still have arms and hands and legs, and you could still speak, but you had wings, too. You would want the wings, too?

          Yes, I would want the wings, too.

And when you were walking around, people would stare at you, and they wouldn’t necessarily understand that you could fly?

          I understand. I understand that they wouldn’t understand.

Or if people thought they meant something, something they didn’t really mean?

          I would know what the wings were for.

And if you had them, forever—the forever, I mean, that is your life, you would still want them?

         Yes, I would want them. I would take them, so long as I could fly.

that I might fly away

         that I might fly away where the ships

                    that I might fly away where the ships of pine wood pass between the dark cliffs



The American Poetry ReviewVol. 28 No. 4


20 responses

  1. Lovely photo. Meaningful, beautiful poem.

    May 14, 2014 at 12:40 pm

  2. If the wing was there, hands wouldn’t be there.

    May 14, 2014 at 6:38 pm

  3. What a wonderful, effervescent shot – the light is just gorgeous. I don’t know anybody else who could take that. The poem’s pretty great too 🙂

    May 14, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    • Richard, that is such a nice compliment. Thank you so much. It really means a lot to me. I’m glad, too, that you liked the poem.

      May 20, 2014 at 9:42 pm

  4. Now I’m wondering if I would or wouldn’t. I think I might. Nice macro!

    May 14, 2014 at 10:33 pm

  5. That is absolutely the most beautiful photograph that I think I ever saw. And the poem… oh, my…

    May 15, 2014 at 2:34 am

    • Thank you, George. It means a lot to me that you like it so much. I found the feather outside on the back patio, and that’s where I set up the gorilla pod and timer to take the shot.

      May 20, 2014 at 9:50 pm

  6. elmediat

    Superb composition. Very effective pairing of image & text.

    May 15, 2014 at 5:26 pm

  7. Yes, I would want them. Oh, yes, I would want them. Forever. Your photographic offering is eloquent and exquisite.

    May 18, 2014 at 2:36 am

    • Oh, good. I’m glad you would want them. 🙂 And I’m so pleased you like the shot. Thank you, Gary.

      May 20, 2014 at 9:55 pm

  8. So very pretty, Lemony….and another classic of yours. Wow…..

    May 21, 2014 at 9:42 pm

  9. Stéphane Cassin Photographie

    A very good macro, gorgeous 🙂

    May 22, 2014 at 9:28 pm

  10. magic!

    May 26, 2014 at 11:52 am

  11. Pingback: My Wife in Theatre | Dark Pines Photo

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