I wrote this rondeau for an online poetry course circa age 20. Like many of my poems at that time, it was a protest against realistic choices that I felt would strand me in a realistic life (aka my writing career reduced to a hobby). I’m sure most artists — or even most people who set high goals — can relate.
One journey’s all we get to take,
Whole life long no time to fake.
Shoes hit rungs, loud, dull whacks,
Footpath confined as railway tracks,
Straight, rigid walk ’til feet awake.
Along twisting path the patterns fail,
Life’s lost and trying to find the trail.
No turning back, there’s just ahead.
One journey’s all.
Feet find the path they fear and want,
Up mountainside to high peak’s taunt:
“Only weaklings ride the train!”
I climb in spite of risk and strain,
For safe aground, potential haunt—
One journey’s all.
This one was a favour for a high school friend who played guitar. I don’t remember exactly why, but she wanted me to write a couple songs for her to play. She might have given me the prompts: one was supposed to be about an eagle and one about rain (I don’t know what crazy mood I was in, but the rain one turned out kind of morbid).
The eagle song turned out happy, probably inspired by my love of a certain red-tailed hawk in the Animorphs series. By the time I saw real birds of prey at a show on Grouse Mountain, I was a dignified adult and therefore not obsessed with—kidding! All I could think was “those birds must really be Animorphs on a mission”; my suspicion was confirmed when the bald eagle actually took off on its handlers, soaring far away over the mountaintops as the show went on. The handlers had to explain to the audience that they do sometimes lose their birds (uh-huh, yep, whenever they catch one that needs to demorph;-)
To fly like an eagle,
To soar through the sky,
To admire the world
Through a bird’s amber eye,
To glide through the air,
To bathe in the sun,
Closing in on the prey,
The day that’s begun,
Skitter and squeak,
Light spread and rise,
Good meal, good morn,
Routine’s no surprise.
Wake, eat and fly,
A good try!