Icarus, Icarus

by Daniel Hoffman

-(I've watched the preening
seagull's sudden leap from the pier's pile,

seen his elbows clap a cloud, careening
artlessly around the rocking steel

bell buoy. Cling, dong: monotonously
swivelled between the same unchanging waves

articulating rootedness. The sea
holds hungry stone. Tempestuously

the porpoise leaps, leaps, spreads his frantic fin
but snoutward underwater rippling falls-

On the rockledge, I feel my own back arching.
An old beachcomber strolls in ragged sneakers

and faded denim pants halfpatched. His folly
is the sluggish village's diversion: acres

on the hill he lets run all to yarrow
while he caresses cast-off seagulls' feathers.

I think I know why his shrewd slant squint follows
invisible fulcrums where the tern teeters,

and why the little boy in his Mighty Mouse suit
spread his arms and leapt from that high rock

-in the pure power of intensest wish he put
all faith- dying, he affirmed it, saying

"I fied, for a minute, just before I fell")
-what ecstasy of pride it was that shook

you loose from all that beeswax & those quills,
O how you soared, that instant before Breughel

showed human eyes unseeing at your fall.

Last updated April 25, 2023