Why this thing we have for wings?
What’s up with humans, art, and wings?
Because we don’t have them
Because we wish we had them
Because we wish that we had to wings to fly, fly, fly
We want what we don’t have, and that’s the sky.
If we could just wish hard enough—
But wishing hard is not enough
The sky is ever out of reach
To those of earth, without our wings
Like children born with wind enough
To wish for more, but not enough
To float and soar and dance in air and sky, sky, sky
To fly away and kiss the ground goodbye.
So this will ever be our dream,
We human/semi-human beings
We dream of ever rising higher
High is never high enough
No mountaintop is sky enough
We reach the peak and leap and drop and why, why, why?
Because we don’t have this
Because we wish we had this
We want what we don’t have: Freedom of flight.
A taste of D.E. Shipley poetry of the non-psalm variety, everyone. I’d been browsing some fantasy art on Facebook, just prior to the poem’s penning, and could not help but notice how very many pieces depicted otherwise-human-looking people with “a pair of moveable organs for flying”. Feathered wings, bat-like wings, wings like butterflies, everywhere. Clearly, people like drawing wings.
A trip to someplace like a Renaissance Faire or Faerie Festival will demonstrate that people also like wearing wings. (Actually, a glance at someone’s earrings or graphic hoodie might show you that much.) Reading about people with wings can be pretty awesome, too. (Loved those first two books of James Patterson’s “Maximum Ride” series! After that… I’ll hold my tongue, for the time being.)
Wings are a huge part of collective human fantasy. We’ve given them to pixies, to pegasi, to dragons, to angels (can’t recall the Bible actually having said that Gabriel and his crowd had wings; cherubim and seraphim, sure; the usual messengers, not so much. But it didn’t say they don’t!). When we’re feeling extra ambitious, we give them to ourselves (sometimes with tragic consequences, eh, Daedalus and son?) Go-getters like da Vinci and the Wright brothers took it a few steps further, and now we’re living in what an Ink Caster blog post dubbed an “Age of Flight”. But an airplane’s wings aren’t quite the same, are they?
Was a time you could give me a penny and a fountain to toss it in, and my innermost thought was always the same: I wish to fly! Not on a dragon’s back (although that, too, would have been awesome), not in a plane or a hot-air balloon, but on my own power, with my own wings… or flapping my arms, as I’ve done in my dreams… or not even having to flap, just doing it, like Peter Pan.
I still wish this, if unofficially (pennies in fountains and such now being dedicated to more important causes, like cross-dimensional gateways). I always will, as most of us will. …Until some future Daedalus or Tinkerbell hooks us up.