No speed of wind or water rushing by
But you have speed far greater. You can climb
Back up a stream of radiance to the sky,
And back through history up the stream of time.
And you were given this swiftness, not for haste
Nor chiefly that you may go where you will,
But in the rush of everything to waste,
That you may have the power of standing still-
Off any still or moving thing you say.
Two such as you with such a master speed
Cannot be parted nor be swept away
From one another once you are agreed
That life is only life forevermore
Together wing to wing and oar to oar
~Robert Frost “Master Speed”
All at once I saw what looked like a Martian spaceship whirling towards me in the air. It flashed borrowed light like a propeller. Its forward motion greatly outran its fall. As I watched, transfixed, it rose, just before it would have touched a thistle, and hovered pirouetting in one spot, then twirled on and finally came to rest. I found it in the grass; it was a maple key, a single winged seed from a pair. Hullo. I threw it into the wind and it flew off again, bristling with animate purpose, not like a thing dropped or windblown, pushed by the witless winds of convection currents hauling round the world’s rondure where they must, but like a creature muscled and vigorous, or a creature spread thin to that other wind, the wind of the spirit which bloweth where it listeth, lighting, and raising up, and easing down. O maple key, I thought, I must confess I thought, o welcome, cheers.
And the bell under my ribs rang a true note, a flourish as of blended horns, clarion, sweet, and making a long dim sense I will try at length to explain. Flung is too harsh a word for the rush of the world. Blown is more like it, but blown by a generous, unending breath. That breath never ceases to kindle, exuberant, abandoned; frayed splinters spatter in every direction and burgeon into flame. And now when I sway to a fitful wind, alone and listing, I will think, maple key. When I see a photograph of earth from space, the planet so startlingly painterly and hung, I will think, maple key. When I shake your hand or meet your eyes I will think, two maple keys. If I am a maple key falling, at least I can twirl.
~Annie Dillard from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
(Happy birthday to Annie today — her 76th !)
I think a lot about wings — particularly when I’m sitting belted in a seat looking out at them bouncing in turbulence, marveling at how they keep hundreds of people and an entire aircraft miles above ground.
Wings, no matter what they belong to, are marvelous structures that combine strength and lift and lightness and expanse and mobility, with the ability to rise up and ease back to earth.
And so ideally I am blown rather than flung through my fitful windy days,
rising and falling as those thin veined wings guide me,
twirling, swirling as I fall,
oh so slowly, to settle, planted.
A new book available with Barnstorming photos and poetry by Lois Edstrom:
4 thoughts on “Wing to Wing”
I read the Master Speed at a close friend’s wedding and have referred it to many people! Love. xox
LikeLiked by 1 person
I was wandering through a church cemetery in Bennington one bright winter day an came across the Frost plot. His epitaph read, “He had a lovers’ quarrel with the world” while Elinor Frost’s was “Wing to Wing and oar to oar.”
The poem within the poem.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I remember you telling me about Elinor’s epitaph before. So great!
Am anxious now to receive Lois Edstrom’s book of poetry
with your striking photography visualized to accompany
and enhancing the poetry.
I am also truly thankful dear Emily to see that your
strikingly beautiful, relevant photography will be
exhibited within the book as it has been
shown on your blog, Barnstorming, for many years.
I think that I commented once (or maybe even more times)
that your stunning pictures and the insights they portray
have opened a spiritual window within our thirsty world-weary souls as they portray
our God’s loving gifts to us in exquisite life-like photos
highlighted by exciting close-ups
showing your readers not only the in-depth ‘seen,’ but the mystical
‘unseen.’ We do not take time in our hurried (and often
harried) existence to stop, to see. and to drink in the beauty around us
and beneath our feet.
LikeLiked by 1 person