“Wings” or “What We’ll Take in Lieu of Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust”

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.

Soooo many more where this came from.

            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.

They can fly, they can fly, they can fly, the lucky sons o' guns!

            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.

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6 thoughts on ““Wings” or “What We’ll Take in Lieu of Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust”

  1. I dream that I can fly all the time. Although I never know for sure whether I’m actually going to be able to get off the ground. For some reason, it takes a lot of will power, and I’m never sure I have enough. And then when I *do* get off the ground, I feel guilty, like I’m using magic or something. But flying is so much fun! I almost feel like flying in my dreams is better than in real life. If people could really fly, there would be too many rules…

    • Dream flying takes a lot of work for me, as well. Wonder what that says about us psychologically? (Is there an expert in the house? Weigh in!)
      You’re probably right about the regulations we’d have to deal with for flying awake; and as much as it would likely annoy, at least a few of them would doubtless be necessary evils. I’m often tempted to wish for flying cars, and then I think about how bad traffic would be if you had to worry about what was going on ahead, behind, on either side, *and* above and below. Like it’s not crazy enough on the road as it is!

  2. This is a beautiful poem. Wings have always been a source of strange fascination for me, like windows and tea. This is different from what you usually write but you have done it with flair and poignancy!

    • My randomly-inspired, only barely minstrel-assisted poetry labeled “beautiful” by Lousie Jaques? Yeah, sure, let’s take that lightly, why don’t we. Thank you!

  3. I’ve always liked good poetry, and this is certainly good poetry. So good, in fact, that it makes me want to go write some– which is, for me, the real sign of quality.

    • It’s times like these I wish I knew how to execute a proper minstrel bow to convey my appreciation for such encouraging words. As it is… thank you! And I’m happy to have perhaps provided inspiration for some more creative work. (:

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