Sarah Jane Black

Free Wings Burn Up The Skies - Poem by Sarah Jane Black

I once flew up to the cloud
That kissed the top of the mountain above my house.
I expected to explode in purple, orange and red because that was the color the cloud was made from the sun.
I didn't though.
Surely you'd think I would've...
Swoosh, brvoom, bang...
Gone white wings—
Gone wild blond hair.
I discovered since the cloud was kissing the mountain that I always awoke to in the morning—
That this section of the sky that I had now skimmed with my body would be called Explosion.
Once I had visited Explosion I decided that there wasn't one sky—
No, there were many skies that made up the shell of the world,
And they all had names.
Once I knew this, Sister Star, in space
(Sister Star was, I discovered, the sun)
Whispered to me what she wanted her Skies to be named.
The next day I spread my white wings as far as they could go and whispered to Sister Star that I could not spread them as wide as they should go
So, she burned brighter and this is what her light told my skin:
"Fly freed wings and burn up the skies with names"

I understood.
And when I did, the bands which had clipped my wings for so many years,
They were tips of the white cloud
that I had tried to collect one day
as I watched the purest of birds wings
become the essence of the cloud.
As inspiration I then named the cloud White Wing.
That cloud flew with me
as I named the skies.
Sister Star knew this
and named the tips
of my wings Swan Cloud
She said those were the main feathers that made up White Wing
In this manner, did I go on naming the stars...

Here's all of my story that I'll tell:
I can't tell you the entire skies name—
The story of them is long
and wile spirited
which could only lead
to a story that no one understands.
I can't tell you
all of the experience's of knowing
the skies individually
and then making them known to the whole world—
Because then you'd find
the skies to be a myth
and the skies are a living thing
to believe in
made up of steam from dreams,
emotions from sleeves,
and whines from wasted opportunities.
I can tell you that every living thing has wings
I can tell you that mine are freed and that Sister Star
Let me burn up with the wind,
the Blue,
the light
and the kiss of air and water
And life of the clouds...
I could tell you how to free your wings,
But then you'd have to go outside, look up above at the big mountain above your house
Fly up there to the cloud that kissed the top of your mountain, the cloud that perched like a stubborn bird its back and... And soon you'd realize
that Explosion isn't out there.
It's your own piece of sky.

Poet's Notes about The Poem

I wrote this because I'm at a time in my life where I feel like I can claim the skies. Like this is all possible. It is, maybe not the skies, but the gift to claim our lives.

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, August 26, 2012

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