Failing And Flying

Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.
It's the same when love comes to an end,
or the marriage fails and people say
they knew it was a mistake, that everybody
said it would never work. That she was
old enough to know better. But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly.
Like being there by that summer ocean
on the other side of the island while
love was fading out of her, the stars
burning so extravagantly those nights that
anyone could tell you they would never last.
Every morning she was asleep in my bed
like a visitation, the gentleness in her
like antelope standing in the dawn mist.
Each afternoon I watched her coming back
through the hot stony field after swimming,
the sea light behind her and the huge sky
on the other side of that. Listened to her
while we ate lunch. How can they say
the marriage failed? Like the people who
came back from Provence (when it was Provence)
and said it was pretty but the food was greasy.
I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of his triumph.

by Jack Gilbert

Comments (7)

very long and very beautiful .... thanks for sharin
It is a pastoral elegy. king Edward is his friend.
Interesting journey through the process of grieving. The poem laments the death of a friend, fellow shepherd Lycidas. Then, the poet asks various nymphs and muses where they were when Lycidas drowned. He blames them for not intervening and saving him. He realizes that kind of thinking is pointless. His friend is dead. Every thing he did on earth is worthless because he died before he had become famous. Without fame, it was like he had never lived. Finally he concludes though that earthly fame isn't as important as life in heaven, and that heaven is where the real fame happens.
Milton is the master of his own art none can excel! His Milton music is so high in quality that none can imitate too in verse! In this wonderful poem his mourning of his fiend's demise is unbearable to feel in heart!
Lofty rhyme; self-same hill. Thanks for sharing.
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