You tell me Icarus.
What do I need
with warnings of Icarus --
I, who cannot leave the ground
long enough to run,
let alone fly?

I can breathe underground,
I can breathe underwater,
more easily than in the air.
I settle myself to work,
and to sleep,
in a cradle of earth
in the deepest valley.

I want no wind,
no sight of mountain.
At the mere thought
of flight
my right sacroiliac --
my sacred wing --
is pierced with pain,
pulses with pain.

It's broken that wing.
I know better than
to even try to use it.

And yet, and yet . . . .

How was I to know
that by burrowing deep
I should find myself so high?

How was I to know --
except from dream --
that by reaching the core
of the mountain,
I would grow wings
of the rich robe I wore,
would fly like a rocket
to the lap of the moon,
be embraced as a sunchild,

see, on the face
of the Blue Pearl below,
Africa, beloved home,
sunny over Turkana, the Jade Sea;
the equator a ring, diamond-set
with the glacial snow of Kirinyaga,
Mountain of Mystery; and
clouds swirling, a chorus dance
all along the Tropic of Cancer?

How was I to know
that breaking through,
seeing into,
would send my neural electrons
into outer orbit,
make everything clear,
come together,

Yes simple, not complex.
From that height the labyrinth
is a clear pattern
of miracle
and infinite beauty --
not a tortuous trek through
blind alleys.

So easy, so clear,
so still, so sweet --
Save for the energy of fusion
as it all comes together,

that impels me to fly
over the edge,
into the Void,
leap out of the network
of thought,
experience the limitless ocean
of Mind

With faulty wing
and crash --
Icarus fashion.

Okay. So yes,
you are right.
This is my Flying Shadow.
See her. I painted her
two years ago.
My first objective,
controlled, painting.
Thea Barnes, the girl in yellow,
leaping over the edge
in a Diversion of Angels:

Divine Fool,
with flying hair,
and the eyes
of a sacrifical animal.

All that skill,
all that discipline,
all that work,
to fly --
in one strange leap --
over the edge.

To look at her now
I feel
crying winds blow cold,
freezing fear inside me now,
shattering softness.

Feel it again
like shards of glass
in my right sacroiliac,
despoiled by rape,
bound with resentment,
unfit for passion,
for flight,

come to lie wounded,

Icarus 2