The Hang Glider by Ralph La Rosa

“We hug the earth,—how rarely we mount!
Methinks we might elevate ourselves a little more.”
Thoreau, Walking

The Hang Glider

It is said transcendent souls inform us:
. . . . .I sometimes think
Mine is like a soaring hang glider’s

Shadow, sauntering across mountains
. . . . .On sunny days,
Skipping over tree tops, disappearing

Behind a grove or into a deep crevice
. . . . .And popping up
On a clean-swept shale slope,

Huge, much larger than the glider,
. . . . .Far less defined,
Almost amoebic as it slinks its way

Across unleveled earth—but then contracts
. . . . .As the glider
Swiftly sinks toward its safe ground,

The shadow moving ever more slowly,
. . . . .As if waiting
For its substance to catch up with it.

If that shadow’s anything like a soul,
. . . . .It’s most active
When a body willfully transcends it,

Most indolent when the body hugs it
. . . . .Too tight to earth.

by Ralph La Rosa

Editor’s Note: The central image in this poem moves from visual description to philosophy as the lines meander to a surprising and inevitable close.


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