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Poem: "First Flight"

Once when I was little and played on the hill,
One wondrous evening, I dream of it still– 
Mom called me to dinner, impatient, I knew– 
So I lifted my arms up and flapped them and flew.

I lifted my arms up and flapped them, and lo!
I was flying as fast as my short legs could go.
The hill swirled beneath me, all foggy and green;
I lit by the yard fence, and no one had seen.

I told them at dinner, I said, “I can fly.”
They laughed, not believing. I started to cry
And ran from the table, and sobbed, “It is true– 
You need not believe me; I flapped and I flew.”

I told them next morning, I told them again– 
For years I kept telling; they laughed and I ran– 
No one would believe me; I ceased then to tell;
But still I remember, remember it well– 

One soft summer evening up there on the knoll,
Before life had harried the reach of my soul,
I stood there in twilight, in childlight, and dew– 
And I lifted my arms up and flapped them and flew!

Source: Louise McNeill, Paradox Hill: From Appalachia to Lunar Shore (1972).


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