Escape was not enough.
When Icarus took flight
it was as a tumbling acrobat
lifts to the thrill. But even before earth
could claim him back, the waxen wings
touched thermals, and he was heedless as eagle.
A soaring, circling condor, then sky pilot
aerobatting each upward thrust
through Olympian clouds.

He did not see the gods. Only felt the heat
of angry breaths. Heard the fates singing
to the winds that tore at his wings
and tornadoed him down
to his drowning.

Still we humans carry that same hubris.
Head to the heavens as climbers,
pilots, paragliders, speed flyers
or base jump, skydive,
just to taste that Icarian freefall.
– Me, I take flight only in imagination
beachcomb for feathers from drowned seabirds
and wish on them for just such derring-do.

*see The Greek myth of Icarus

Written for the photo prompt #153 from the Sunday Muse

29 thoughts on “hubris

  1. Lots of really great language and imagery here. Full points for “aerobatting!” The last line of “wish on them” for derring-do is a great way to bring the poem to earth, even if that is not what we wish for, LOL!

  2. love this! the words, the sense of flight, the risk–a breathless poem.

  3. Once I went for paragliding in a beautiful Himalayan valley but couldn’t do it because we had to hurry back to our hotel to my dismay and my husband heaved a sigh of relief. I love how the image of the woman holding plumes took you to the Greek myth and the extreme sports of the modern world; “Icarian freefall” indeed.

  4. Some gems here — aerobatting and tornadoing, for example. Well written!

  5. Absolutely wonderful to read.
    Thanks for dropping by to read mine Laura

    much love

  6. This poem took flight itself……….and I really enjoyed the closing lines.

  7. The deities don’t want us getting too big for our britches. I like the tenuous connection you have with those who flew too high.

  8. Oh, this wish for wings is in all of us even those of us who love to bird watch and gather feathers. Beautiful writing!

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