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