Thursday, November 02, 2006
That's the prompt at Poetry Thursday this week - "words that dance in your head." Then we're asked to explain why those words resonate with us and to perhaps use them as a jumping-off point to another poem. I love the phrase "words that dance in your head." THOSE words dance in mine. Thank you to Melba for suggesting it. The poem I immediately thought of when I read the prompt is one of my all-time favorites and one of the first ones I ever posted for Poetry Thursday - "High Flight." (Click on the link if you want to read the whole poem.) That poem makes me feel as if I should be able to just lift off and fly, but I think the section that dances in my head more than any other in the poem would be these lines: Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; and these: Up, up the long delirious, burning blue, I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace Where never lark, or even eagle flew - I love that poem so much that it even inspired me to do a series of altered book pages a few years ago, based on both "High Flight" and the song "Born to Fly" (which, in itself, inspired me to write a poem a few months ago). That poem makes me think not only of the joy of flight, but of the courage of aviation pioneers who really were daring to go where no one had gone before (cue Star Trek theme song...heh), especially of the women pioneers who had to fly in the face of what was considered "proper" for a lady. (Pun intended!) There were people like Edith Berg, who became the first American woman to fly as a passenger in an airplane, soaring for two minutes and seven seconds. Or Raymonde de LaRoche who, in 1910, received the very first pilot's license awarded to a woman. There was Harriet Quimby, the glamour girl of flying in her day, who was the first woman to fly solo across the English Channel. She accomplished that in April of 1912, just 3 months before she plunged to her death in an aviation accident. In 1921, Bessie Coleman became the first African American - male or female - to be issued a pilot's license. Then there was Jacqueline Cochran, who went from being a hairdresser to being one of the most accomplished women in aviation history. At the time of her death in 1980, she held more speed, altitude, and distance records than any male or female pilot in aviation history. And of course, no list of female aviation pioneers would be complete without Amelia Earhart, who set several records and then disappeared while attempting to fly around the world. She also wrote this poem: Courage Courage is the price that Life exacts for granting peace, The soul that knows it not, knows no release From little things; Knows not the livid loneliness of fear; Nor mountain heights where bitter joy can hear The sound of wings. How can Life grant us boon of living, compensate For dull grey ugliness and pregnant hate Unless we dare The soul's dominion? Each time we make a choice, we pay With courage to behold the restless day, And count it fair. ~~~Amelia Earhart The final lines of that poem dance in my head too. Today's Daily Art Thang is a more distant view of the same barn I showed in yesterday's post. "Autumn Barn 2" (clickable if you want to see it larger in a new window) You can find links to more words that might dance in your head here.