|Walter Gray Markham 1/19/1926-4/15/2012|
Still you'll rake your heart in unreasonable rage
At the imperfect praise of perfect things,
If in all the weathers of your mind and power
You work to stretch the best of fliers' wings.
I've seen the landsmen tire their legs in an hour.
And I hope you'll have a son a flier who fights
Your old-fashioned praise of earlier heights.
But may his son remember the three of us,
And understand our impatient angry pride.
Let the wind blow in your lifetime long to bless
Good wings, and you be one to see them ride
As I see them soar up the bright streams of air,
Hang, wing away, shine in the shine of bare
Sunlight pouring toward earth in middle day.
You'll see man's power alive in grace; then see
The grounded watchers stare up and turn away.
I say, Curse them. And may you always be
Angry as I am when the tough, the rare, the tall
Fliers with all their wisdom burn and fall.
I hope you'll live to learn to rage at their death
Too young by unnatural causes away from the field.
I want you to measure as I have measured breath
Then, and to keep the deep wells of grief sealed.
This will be hard on you, but high is hard.
I want you to tell our sons I cursed; I cared.
And forget me. Tell them it was not always so
That all men clambered on any climbing thing
To drag it down. You'll tell them, once you know,
Even once, air running over and under the wing,
Wind trying and shaping the immeasurable air
To a map of the coasts of heaven forever clear.
Fear will be tied around your wrist. But fliers
Before our time have had that weight there, too,
And heard the long wind screaming through the wires,
And have done what they have told themselves to do.