Words about words:

This page is about process. Ever now and then I’ll update it with something I’m working on right at this very moment and try and explain a bit about the process.  Exciting eh!…

This weekend I’ve been writing a poem about a modern day Icarus.  I woke up on Friday wondering about how ordinary people deal with the extrordinary.  That’s become my starting point. That and a bit of research into the Greek myth and a bit of thinking about neighbours and how we live side by side with people and may see them everyday and yet never realise or see who they really are.  I liked the idea of a character who caught of glimpse of the life of someone amazing and accepted it in a very understated ‘British’ way.  That’s what I’m exploring.  Below is a very unfinished very first draft:

It was reported on

In a small column

In the free weekly paper

‘Birdman flies too close to the sun’

Was the seven word headline

Dead matter of fact like

No talk of the extraordinary

Or the magic

Or the beauty to be found

in embracing a destiny that could only bring pain.

For those of us who knew him

We were not surprised

He had tried lying on sun-beds

In the tanning shop on our parade

But it didn’t give him the exhilaration he said

That he got from being so close  up to the real thing

And he begrudged the  £8.50 fee

And the orange afterglow it left on his wings.

I remember the first time I saw him

Me stood wiping at the kitchen window

He on top of the shed next door

Bracing himself

Just about to launch off.

I’d have assumed it to be a ‘party trick’

For his wife

But he wasn’t one for showing off

And his wife to my knowledge

Was no longer around.

I found myself staring at him

Recognising someone familiar

Something different

Not being exactly sure what.

In retrospect

It wasn’t so much the wings

But the suit  that threw me

It was navy pinstripe

A bit too formal for flying I’d have thought

I’d wondered if linen would have been more apt.

Later on lunar evenings

I would watch from the garden

As he flew above our street

Feathers shimmering

Practicing techniques in turbulence control

Reaching ever higher

As the rest of the world watched

‘Britain’s got talent.’

When things turned bad

Children threw stones  at him

Screeching ‘birdman’ into the sky

As if it were a crime

And he should be ashamed.

Their parents were even less tolerant.

He took to covering his wings

with a big overcoat

when he nipped out to the corner shop

for a paper or a pint of milk.

Sometimes  I walked with him.

When we talked it was of bigger risks

The threat of global warming

And the ozone layer

The dangers of sun damage

And the need for wearing good sunglasses

With a proper U.V filter.

One  morning I  had woke

To find a note stuck to my window

‘Tomorrow I am flying to the sun’  it said.

He signed it  Icarus

Even though the paper had said his name was Alan.


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