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from Flying Home

Written by: Galway Kinnell | Biography
 | Quotes (1) |
3 
As this plane dragged 
its track of used ozone half the world long 
thrusts some four hundred of us 
toward places where actual known people 
live and may wait, 
we diminish down in our seats, 
disappeared into novels of lives clearer than ours, 
and yet we do not forget for a moment 
the life down there, the doorway each will soon enter: 
where I will meet her again 
and know her again, 
dark radiance with, and then mostly without, the stars. 

Very likely she has always understood 
what I have slowly learned, 
and which only now, after being away, almost as far away 
as one can get on this globe, almost 
as far as thoughts can carry - yet still in her presence, 
still surrounded not so much by reminders of her 
as by things she had already reminded me of, 
shadows of her 
cast forward and waiting - can I try to express: 

that love is hard, 
that while many good things are easy, true love is not, 
because love is first of all a power, 
its own power, 
which continually must make its way forward, from night 
into day, from transcending union always forward into difficult day. 

And as the plane descends, it comes to me 
in the space 
where tears stream down across the stars, 
tears fallen on the actual earth 
where their shining is what we call spirit, 
that once the lover 
recognizes the other, knows for the first time 
what is most to be valued in another, 
from then on, love is very much like courage, 
perhaps it is courage, and even 
perhaps 
only courage. Squashed 
out of old selves, smearing the darkness 
of expectation across experience, all of us little 
thinkers it brings home having similar thoughts 
of landing to the imponderable world, 
the transoceanic airliner, 
resting its huge weight down, comes in almost lightly, 
to where 
with sudden, tiny, white puffs and long, black, rubberish smears 
all its tires know the home ground.



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