Alicia Elsbeth Stallings

(1968 / Georgia / United States)

Fear Of Happiness - Poem by Alicia Elsbeth Stallings

Looking back, it's something I've always had:
As a kid, it was a glass-floored elevator
I crouched at the bottom of, my eyes squinched tight,
Or staircase whose gaps I was afraid I'd slip through,
Though someone always said I'd be all right—
Just don't look down or See, it's not so bad
(The nothing rising underfoot). Then later
The high-dive at the pool, the tree-house perch,
Ferris wheels, balconies, cliffs, a penthouse view,
The merest thought of airplanes. You can call
It a fear of heights, a horror of the deep;
But it isn't the unfathomable fall
That makes me giddy, makes my stomach lurch,
It's that the ledge itself invents the leap.

Comments about Fear Of Happiness by Alicia Elsbeth Stallings

  • John BeatonJohn Beaton (8/28/2018 3:18:00 AM)

    Hi, Alicia. I'm new to this site and it's a joy to find so many of your poems here. This one resonated. I've always been chary of heights and have tried to combat it by going climbing with crazy companions, so I'm not new to fear barriers. The title turns the whole trope. And, of course the form is there, with intermingled but perfectly matching pairs of end-rhymes, s word choices that pop (unfathomable) , and a perfect final line. Fine poem.


    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
Read all 1 comments »

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Poem Submitted: Monday, September 8, 2014

Poem Edited: Monday, September 8, 2014

[Report Error]