Saturday, December 11, 2010

Big Tent poetry post in answer to prompt December 6.10 - using Referential Magazine for prompts

My poem is based on Unreality a poem by Elizabeth Langemake (who also wrote the title poem on Referential’s page Self-Portrait as a Fake Saint with Wheel) – she is every bit as enigmatic as that title sounds and perhaps that’s what drew me to her ...

The line I’m choosing to use from Unreality is “Belief is only a comfort of earth and upward of earth, a reality so thin the lungs cannot take it.” (the poem is about flying in a plane, one of my favourite topics ...)

Soaring Silver

Every time it is the same thing
I am calm to the point of trance-like
No longer needing actual medication
I have learned various methods
Of self-talk and the like to quiet
My racing thoughts and my heartbeats

And sit, buckled in properly, studying
The emergency info with real attention
But still not panicked, noting escape
Routes, the tiny lights that will illuminate
Same should such an unlikely event
Occur – the need to escape that is ...

We are backing out of the hanger
Area and taxiing out to the runway
The captain is saying soothing things
In two languages – it’s Canada after all
The flight attendants are going through
Their puppet show with oxygen masks
And seats as flotation devices etc.

When suddenly the captain tells them
Abrupty to sit and buckle up, we have
Clearance and the plane swivels,
As they say, on a dime, and I can feel
The engines fire up – all the thrusters
Or whatever they are pushed forward
Ready for take-off and,  I am sweating

Heart pounding, I just know there
Is no way that this massive solid
Object is going to be able to resist
Gravity’s pull – there is no way
Belief is only a comfort of earth
And upward of earth, a reality so thin
The lungs cannot take it, and my
Lungs are burning, gasping  for air

A kindly woman beside me holds
An open brown bag to me, bids me
“Here dear,” she motions. “Put this
Over your mouth and nose and breathe.”
I do what she instructs, close my eyes
“That’s it, just breathe deeply and
Listen to the bag going in and out.”

Moments later, without any help
From me, we are silver soaring through
The atmosphere and I am amazed
And so thankful to the fates,
To this seatmate, to whomever
It is that allows this miracle to happen.


  1. Well done! I recognize the thankfulness that allows for takeoff and landing, too!

  2. Vivid imagery depicts what many people fear when flying and leaves the reader with a sense of ease. Thanks for the beautiful poem, Sharon!

  3. Terrific take. (I like this poem, too!)

    "Belief is only a comfort of earth" is a powerful line. I adore it. :-)

  4. I agree with Deb's comment. I also really liked the line "We are silver soaring through / the atmosphere".