december Vol. 8 — 1966
Flight over the Zuni Mountains
Hold death by the heels
And tickle his nose with a feather,
For the wind is our blood
It will blow itself away.
Never a dark red rivulet trickling through the grass
Beside the bolts and the pressed wood props made in Camden, New Jersey
Let the engines drone a funeral dirge,
The sharp staccato when one cylinder plays alone.
The quiet…just the wind.
No sound when the ribs crumple,
Like the old tree falling in the forest
With no one to hear,
For we are not there.
We stand and lean on a cloud
And call for another beer.
This we know:
We are the wind.
We will come back gently over the lake,
We will lash the waves and bend the trees;
We will lie side by side on the high mountains,
Drinking martinis and telling the old jokes over.
Never our wings will melt or crumple with heat or hardness.
This we know.
For the man who draws the blueprint, shapes the wings,
Threads the bolts and pulls the props
Is not our faith.
Ours is the wind and the wind is us
And no one shall bury us ever.
We have known space not surrounded by closets and cabbages cooking
We have whirled rainbows over our heads;
We have owned the earth by rising from it;
Never again shall we walk with ordinary feet.
The wings were shaped from a woman’s weeping…
No other tears shall fall.
Ann Darr was a poet, teacher and World War II pilot. She was born in Bagley, Iowa and later lived in Washington, D.C., where she was a poetry force to be reckoned with. Her poetry is sharp, distinct, and timeless; december was fortunate to publish her work for the first time in Vol. 8 in 1966, again in Vol. 10 (1968), and in Vol. 12 (1970). She was the author of nine volumes of poetry. Our advisory editor Grace Cavalieri, who was Ann Darr’s friend, described her affectionately in a 2007 tribute: “The fuel for Ann’s life was love and rage, in equal parts. I see her bristling at any injustice. I see her poems clinging to the brilliant absurdities and riding them out. She has a book called Riding with the Fireworks. That is her epitaph, blazing and moving.” december was privileged to share that love and rage with its readers and is delighted to share one of those poems again.