In memoriam Francis X. Hogan (1913-1974)
On Sunday mornings in March my father
would take a homemade kite broad as his back
up the hill near Reeve's Farm.
This was how men learned of flight
he told me then.
Racing down that hill to catch the wind
where there was none to speak of,
the kite (gradually lifting) caught at last
on a thermal from the sea his running almost reached.
He told me breathless watching it rise:
The Chinese were the first.
They made them shaped like dragons
which in those days roamed the whole earth
free and flaming.
And from the hill above Reeve's Farm
I knew them, floating in the mist over the ocean,
soaring down where the waves spoke of the sun,
gold and restless
and beyond the waves, too, to where he looked.
In school, he said, pulling the string
which tugs at me still.
In school they will tell you
dragons do not exist.
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