Sunday, May 11, 2014

Fear of Flying

When I was a child
I never slept at naptime.
I would slowly rise up
to the ceiling and
look down
at my  silent self,
then fly around the room
and out the window.
I’d check on the nest
in the tree outside my window
then go up, through the branches
up through clouds
into the sunshine,
far enough to see the curve of the Earth
pale, in the distance.

As I grew older
my flight time diminished;
still, I excelled in science class
when we learned about meteorology
and cloud formations.
I remembered my time
among them, and counted them
as friends

As an adult,
I have a fear of heights.
I left behind the foolishness,
and the magic,
of flying away from my body
until this morning…
Something is different
and familiar -
a feeling in the back of my throat,
perhaps a change in
barometric pressure
(or grown-up life pressures).
I feel a lightness I haven’t felt in ages…
and the rushing up.
I look down at myself,
zoom once around the room ,
then sail out the window
and across the open field
down the road and out over the ocean.
And now I know,
I was never afraid of heights,
I was afraid
that once I left
I would
never come back.

Check out Magpie Tales by Tess Kincaid for more responses to the image, or add your own.  Image by Martin Stranka.  This is also linked to IGRT open link night.  Go there to read a variety of wonderful poems by some fabulous toads.


  1. Looking at ones self can be grand, floating across the land. Good fear too, you need to come back to umm you

  2. Deep and intriguing!
    ALOHA from Honolulu

  3. the flying and spending time with the clouds and counting them as friends....
    what a great last couple lines as well....

  4. I think that our childhood states somehow repeat earlier ventures in consciousness of our human tribe ... what you describe here so much sounds like a shamanic spirit-flight. And what a magnificent ending! I don't think you could have nailed it better. Great work.

  5. Beautifully written and rather moving...

  6. This is such a great story and a true reminder we should never stop believing in magic! Wonderfully well-written!

  7. Magical! To escape those grown-up pressures at least long enough to go on a short flight of fancy would be a wonderful release.

  8. The rules of being a grown up put a lot of limits on ourselves.. I really loved the part about excel in science cause you where friend with the clouds...

  9. I left behind the foolishness,
    and the magic,

    some of the saddest words I have ever read

  10. Thank you all. I've visited you and enjoyed your responses too!

  11. Thanks for once again baring The Unbearable Lightness of Your Being , Madame

  12. oh! i can really relate to this. so precisely described, those feelings. i rather love this.

  13. Ha! Very clever and easy to relate to, oddly. I often have a bit of OCD feeling that I cannot stop certain behaviors or I won't be able to pick them up again. K.

  14. i love this release that's so uplifting and the image is perfectly translated...a wonderful poem...

  15. One progresses from childhood fantasy to adulthood reality! It's only natural but you said most perfectly! Great write Mary!


  16. I can identify with this poem... it is one of those I wish I'd written - I am so glad you did and so glad I was blessed to read it.

  17. A most powerful close, that would worry me too! It's funny when I was little my mother forced the naps too, even after my morning kindergarten class, so I often did the tossing and turning when she put me to bed so early after dinner as well!

  18. For me your poem transcends the photo prompt. The story, the progression of the poem had me transfixed. Really nice.

  19. Mary, this is gorgeous and timeless ~

  20. Wow, thank you everyone for you comments. I'm glad this resonated with so many of you. And I either have or will visit and check out what you've written as well.

  21. I think I would have the same fear of not returning. :)

  22. There is something very attractive about that. Thanks for reading Heidi.

  23. Lovely...this resonates with me!

  24. I've had dreams where I've seen myself sleeping ..lovely writing..

  25. You made me feel the wonder of regaining childhood pleasures and how good they were. Learning to fly!

  26. My favorite one so far…
    Suits my mood today.


  27. Thank you Ladies, I'm sorry I didn't see your comments earlier. None-the-less they, and you, are much appreciated!