Thoughts on Flying



Birds on a wire

like thoughts coming together,


resting before flight–


the pause,

rhythm in a sentence


in the secret language of birds,

forming patterns in circles and lines,


gliding on wind currents,

soaring into the clouds–


and I watch, wondering


what it’s like to rise so high

without fear of falling?



Crows in flight at Red Bank Battlefield, July 2020


For dVerse,where Laura has asked us to write about flight. I’ve reworked some old poems. . . a work in progress perhaps.




55 thoughts on “Thoughts on Flying

  1. It would be nice…if I had a guarantee of not falling. Lovely poem and photos, Merril. My grandmother used to say when you saw birds on a wire, they were facing the direction of an upcoming storm. I don’t know if that’s true or a West Virginia tale!

  2. I love this so much. It explicates the secrecy in nature, the language we will never be able to understand between animals to each other; those cues.

    I really adore the final two lines. I often wonder what it’s like to fly. Now figuratively, I also like the interpretation of what it would be like to not fear falling down, thus not provoking the fear of failure.

    Excellent poem here. So many layers to pick from.

    • Thank you so much for your lovely comment, Lucy!
      I’m really kind of fascinated by bird languages–they have dialects and other birds can understand each other. And I love watching and listening to them.
      And yes, the other level about not to fear falling. Something I definitely have to work at.

  3. I love the simile in the opening lines, Merril, a poem assembling itself for a poet to record. That’s what poets have in common with birds, the
    rhythm in a sentence. The final question is one I often ask myself.

  4. kaykuala

    what it’s like to rise so high
    without fear of falling?

    It would a wonderful bird’s eye view of the world for a start but more on the acrobatics of swallows and eagles that is fascinating.


  5. Murmurations are a free air show, intricate patterns, formed by hundreds of wings. When young, I had flying dreams, and it felt marvelous. About as close as we come is those lighter than air machines, solo; you, a motor, a propellor and the sky.

  6. That secret language – the tip of a wing, a single beat, or the still act of rising on a current – I want to know that, as I think you do. You convey it so well.

    • Thank you so much, Ken. Yes, it’s all a mystery. And then today I was thinking about tails–why roadrunners have such big ones. (Colleen posted a photo and video on FB.) 😀 That must be part of the language, too–some birds look like they’re flipping someone off with their tails.

  7. Having spent hours observing my little flock of wild lovebirds, I too wonder what it would be like to fly and see the world from their point of view. They do have a secret language and the more I watch them, the more I come to understand how they communicate with one another.Truly lovely Merril.

  8. You make me think of that old question, would you rather fly or be invisible. I don’t know how high I could go. My son had been afraid of heights. He never liked crossing long bridges. I only get nervous when I think about what could possibly happen.

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