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September 25, 2012

Unable to refuse gross or even subtle demands,

Yet failing always their every execution,

The young boy huddled in his chair,

The young boy made himself small and waited,

Waited for the sound of his name,

A sound to activate him like an automaton…

A sound to propel him onto yet another failure.

(And I could but observe, doing nothing).

If fear, hate, confusion, if dread and desperation:

If all these were given a singular body,

And that body, given movement,

You would clearly see it

(As I am daily doomed to see it),

See it hovering over him now.

More furious than a composite monster

Dredged from the midnight imagination

Of history’s every witch and child,

You would see this fiend,

This ogre with black and veiny wings,

Bearing down on him that moment,

Pushing down his fragile shoulders,

Beating against his bewildered face.

(While I — I can only sit and watch

His torment as my own);


At the sound of his name

Yet another creature, an indefatigable

And no less seductive, self-invented creature,

Would whirl through him,

And invade him, blood, fiber and brain,

Would send him staggering onto his feet;

Defiant!  Ablaze!  Striking out —

Though with strangely cautious rage;

And the ogre would rise from his back,

But to soar the while above him,

Nipping now, and now again

At the slope of his shoulders

And rumpled hair, patiently waiting

For another failure,

For the laughter

(For my hidden tears);


Inevitably then, it would fall again,

Fall over the frail body,

Push him down, down.

Those wings!

That dreadful left wing,

An impenetrable blanket

Over the past;

That horrid right wing flapping,

An opaque skin

Flung on the future…

(And I am left to watch

And watching, weep.)

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  1. You can’t escape the fear of failure, but you can battle and try. Kinda makes ya successful. To have fear is not cowardly, to fail trying.. is not defeat!

  2. I have time to burn on Sunday, maybe I’ll record an audio of this poem. 花 y yo read together ciao middle-age American living in New Jersey near the Lincoln Tunnel

    • I would be thrilled to have you record it, Tom! I’ve never heard it spoken in anyone else’s voice. Would you kindly give me the link when it’s done? WOW!

  3. Jay, you excel at writing poetry. Have you ever thought about publishing a collection?

  4. How kind of you, Janet! I only have twenty or so poems to my name, though. Just about all of them are posted here and only a handful were written recently (within the last 4 or 5 years). Most were when I was young and ragged! Still, keep the praise flowing. I thrive on it. It nourishes my short stories of which i am sinfully proud! Thanks, Janet, for reading Those Wings.

  5. So, an occasional poet? Rather like I feel at present, in spite of my name. All I can say, from what I see here, is that you really have an ability with words, metaphor, imagery. This is all the stuff of a poet who will keep his readership in thrall.

    • You really know how to put a delightful cap on my evening, Janstie! You’re welcome back anytime. Thank you so much.


  6. So, an occasional poet? Rather like I feel at present, in spite of my name. All I can say, from what I see here, is that you really have an ability with words, metaphor, imagery. This is all the stuff of a poet who will keep his readership in thrall.

    I salute you, Septuagenarian man.

    • Those are some kind words you left me. I’m sorry if I’m late in responding. Somehow, I wasn’t notified by my email or by WordPress that I had a comment to moderate. When a poet tells me I have a poetic knack I really get flustered. I always feel like a fraud when I’m writing — like I’m just showing off. It’s nice to get validation. Thank you!!!!

  7. My mind went everywhere with this, to my childhood dreams of guardian angels watching over me and all my antics, to my out-of-character strength that fought off real life nightmares. Thanks for the inspiration. I’ll go write now.

    • I can’t think of a better compliment to give a writer than to know you internalized his poem to the extent that it inspired you in your own writing. Whoa! Thank you, Robyn.

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    • I don’t know about the administration process, the fame might be overstated, but I’m indebted to your opinion of its quality. Thank you, my friend.

  9. Again, you rack up the tension wonderfully before it’s release. Brought back vivid memories of childhood when extreme emtions are like monsters or angels. Extremely well written.

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