the answer is
not the history
of flight but

a question of
wings a notion
born of desperation

and fright each
quill ruffled by
the delicate tongue

of air can
only reflect this
fortune a dream

but never a
tragedy the gift
of gravity’s denial




Written probably in 1985 or 1986, this is the first poem I titled “Icarus.” It’s fun to unearth these old pieces.

42 thoughts on “Icarus

  1. Not that I need an answer, but curiosity nudges the asking – were you able to let this be exactly as left in mid80s? I find myself tweaking anything I go back to after several years – guessing it’s because I have changed in the meantime (poetically maybe, but more a shifting in perspectives.)
    How many Okaji Icarus poems are there? A chapbook’s worth? Would be fun to peruse a collection!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, this is as it was written lo those many years ago. I’m not sure how many of my poems the figure of Icarus appears in, or at the very least inspired. I’ve titled two or three (one’s been published, this one, and one I can’t find) “Icarus” because it seemed appropriate. I’ll try to refrain from doing so in the future, but no promises. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice – a delicate description.

    Talk about serendipitous, here’s me thinking about examples where writers use historical references in their writing and you post a poem that demonstrates it. Would you mind if I use it in a class this week?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. icarius is a favourite – i have a painting (sopy) of him descended held by beautiful nude nymphs in water which i enjoy. Icarius too is beautiful and faint or lifeless if so what a tragedy for one so lovely who tried to fly. many times i have had a dream of flying and it was wonderful. If we can fly in our dreams we should be able to do it in reality too. Birds and insects do so why not we at least in our imagination.

    Liked by 1 person

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