Saturday, August 06, 2005


Opening Poem Remarks: This is another dream poem. I was noticing as I was collecting my poems for this reading that my recent dream poems are among my favorites. Because it resembled a myth, I worked with it with that in mind. I apologize to those of you who have already heard it at the Brigit Pageen Kelly workshop. I’ve changed it some since then.


Lurch of fear: the heart tumbles,

plummets into freefall. Terror,

terror. Clutching. Quick,

if only I can remember what I know. Remember

before I smash

or wake.


have I wanted to be an enemy

of birds. Love, only love,

drove me to collect their wings,

feathers and hollow bones.

Only from the dead.


from the living. The miraculous

living. From the dead,

I took shriveled, scaly feet, bony

beaks and skulls. I pinned the wings, hung

them on the walls to dry. Admired

the simple aerodynamics of bone,

flesh and feather.

At night, I stretched and flexed

the wings and waxed them to my body, flapped

around the dark house practicing. Tossed

myself from the table, the shed roof,

the second story.

Then from a cliff,

I launched myself into their private sky.


flesh grew light

as I stepped into

sudden air,

All that space

around me.

Like the vulture,

aloft for hours.

Relax, as the earth hurtles upward. Shift

and stretch the plunging heart. Empty. Lift. Soar.

Circle and glide. Ride thermals. Trees shrink away,

ribbon rivers flutter. The earth tilts below.

O feral heart, only the air matters.

only the wind.

Mary Stebbins

For Keith


050806, 050615, 050509(4)bb, 050322(3)d, 021003(2)a, 020507(1)b

Closing Remarks: I used to often dream of flying. It is disappointing to me that I rarely do any more. I wonder if it’s because I am so heavy. Or more frail and awkward. I hope one never gets to old to fly!!!!

[NOTE: Revisit and consider Brigit Pageen Kelly's remarks on this poem, if possible, time allowing and if it can be located.]


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