Icarus Revisited Poem by paul barnacle

Icarus Revisited

Icarus Revisited

All of his training, all of his dreams,
Courage flowed through his veins, replacing duplicity.
Many times before he had stood at the cliffs edge, peered over, sweated and felt the bile rise.
Now at last he was ready,
Feathers preened, the sunlight danced off him,
The wax of self importance firm on his skin.
His heart beat furiously.
“I shall soar, eagles will be at my feet, father do you hear me? I will dazzle, the Gods will know my name.”
As he dived out into the blue
Immortality held its breath, ready to greet him.
The Gods smiled.
Daedlus shed a tear.
The descent was imperceptible at first, a feather floated away, then another.
Icarus laughed and sang.
He stretched out a finger, to touch a cloud.
His eyes closed in extacy, oblivious to the downward spiral.
Faster and faster the sea rushed up to meet him.
Now silently, he accepted his fate.
The others sat around, drinking tea and chatting.
Unaware of his drama within their midst,
Icarus, died in front of them. On his chair in the corner,
Silently, unheard, alone. Not even a splash.

Abby Mackaway 20 July 2009

Absolutely brilliant. This poem definately deserves more publicity than it has received. The imagery is beautiful, the words so crisp and fresh that I can imagine myself as Icarus, finally courageous enough to take that leap of faith. So bitter sweet, his triumph over gravity leads to his demise. With respect, Abby

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Linda Hepner 13 July 2009

One of my favorite paintings is The Fall of Icarus by Pieter Breugel. I'm sure you know it - but if not, your poem tells us what was going on up there while the rest of us were fishing or ploughing here below.

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paul barnacle

Rugby, Warwickshire, England
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