Icarus, Icarus, Paratrooper
Homage to Charles Causley
Slung down from heaven, torn silks whipped
By precipitous wind, he tripped
From air and rammed the blasting sea
That seemed a gun, cocked vertically.
Seas stalled in the chute, let him down
More than he’d ever been let down
By men, hurled and harrowed farther.
Glitter strafed the skin of water.
Stars and starfish are just fool’s gold
Where salts turn iron—he burns with cold,
Fingers like candles, a birthday wish
Darting and slipping off like fish.
His throat is streaked with phosphorus,
His May-day eyes are kissed (not by us),
And his arms hold harms like lilies
In the deep green meadows of the seas.
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Editor’s Note: This poem’s nod to Icarus calls to mind notes of Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts,” as well as Brueghe’s “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus,” while also drawing the reader into modern times. The imagery is no less striking, but somewhat more violent (gun, cocked, harrowed).
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