Friday, May 11, 2012

Critique and Craft: Machine Dreams • Wings

image via Google


Wings

Awkwardly, stubbornly, you take your flight
        and blotch the sky with your image.
Hungrily you roar a defiance
at more accessible lands,
        a defense of space
                fought in futile scrambled timing.
You eat the clouds,
poisoning the rain they keep
so they dump on us a dead apologetic storm.

Will farmers look on fields of bleached weeds
as science searches new forms of food? —
and will cities branch out farther
in frantic nesting to avoid your thunder? —
and will beaches no longer sing
as ozone protection becomes a myth
and one in four carries oozing sores?

Ah! But what we have gained
by allowing you places to settle . . .
One uncomfortable diplomatic gesture
        never put to vote
has quieted the discord for a sigh
and we live another nightmare.

With weeping eyes and choking breath
        and with unceasing admiration for wings
we hear you first through palm-cupped ears,
                then see you scamper across the dome.

Nursing remaining health
some will ignore your birth —
others will save the thousands
necessary for your tempting luxury moment spree.

But I curse with useless disdain
the smiling Concorde.

                                MLydiaM ~ 1977


Written over three decades ago — in all seriousness then, I might add! — I am submitting this old poem for Critique and Craft—Machine Dreams at dVerse Poets. Thank you to Chazinator for the wildly fun prompt. Although my youthful loathing of the Concorde mellowed some with time, I always did think it was a
Machine Nightmare!

To refresh your memory about the Concorde, see Wikipedia and numerous other sites. Here are key stats from Wikipedia:

             Concorde
Role     Supersonic airliner
First flight     2 March 1969
Introduction     21 January 1976
Retired     26 November 2003
Status     Retired from service


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17 comments:

zongrik said...

...and the ironic thing about your poem is that the concord is not longer flying and polluting our skies!!

sonnet 40

Mary Mansfield said...

That "dead apologetic storm" is something I fear will haunt us for quite some time. Quite a strong statement in this poem. Nicely done!

hedgewitch said...

I can definitely relate to the feeling of disdain, and I'd say this was a rather prophetic poem, though there's a lot more contributors to decline now(thinking BP oil spill, etc) than there used to be.

Brian Miller said...

You eat the clouds,
poisoning the rain they keep
so they dump on us a dead apologetic storm///eep...the further along we come the less we think about what it is doing...deemed acceptable losses we achieve progress...even if it kills us...really nice lydia

Amber Lee said...

The message is still highly relevant, however long ago it was written! Maybe more-so, which is sort of terrifying. We need more strong words like this, I think.

Owen said...

Perhaps all motorized aircraft, especially all the big heavy jets, could be thus categorized, as they burn hundreds of tons of jet fuel on every trip, though your vision was clear as you wrote this, the Concord was pretty much the epitome of jet transportation, symbolizing the power of money to create every more sophisticated technology to satiate rich folks gluttonous desires for ever more, ever faster, ever more costly forms of playing around on the planet, while the masses starve and choke on jet exhaust fumes, and acid rain falls from our highly abused skies...

For man to fly was a romantic notion, but like most of so-called modern society, the aeronautic industry became a monster, just like the oil industry, the automobile rat race, the banks, the plastic makers... monsters everywhere one looks...

Despite all our awareness and knowledge of the monsters we have made, we march on hand in hand with them, and refuse to slay them. But I fear they will slay us sooner rather than later, in the heartless way of blind monsters...

I was at work at CDG Airport the day the Concord crashed nearby, we watched the smoke from the crash site rising up in a great dark column into the sky, and wondered how many souls were ascending there... for me that is where the dream of the Concorde ended.

Excellent poem...

Lydia said...

zongrik~ I know....it is an outcome that I did not expect would happen!

Mary Mansfield~ I fear that too. Many thanks for your comment.

hedgewitch~ Yes, who would have expected a Valdez or BP oil spill, or Chernobyl....so many atrocities for this poor planet to endure. Thank you for being here.

Brian~ Thanks so much. I just read tonight that 2300 birds have died along Chilean beaches. Just another horror, more "deemed acceptable losses".....

Amber Lee~ I think you are right that we need more strong words. People became so timid and withdrawn during the Bush years and have never truly returned to the soapboxes where they were once comfortable.

Owen~ I so appreciate your personal historical context in your comments. Your statement exemplifies what Amber Lee mentioned in her comments: we need more strong words like this. Your comment really adds to the poem for me. Thanks much, Owen.

Charles Miller said...

This is kind of about the Concorde, but it's broader than that, as you expand the vision of desolation into the effects of technology on the environment and human life. The devastation that you see occurring is very palpable, and it's quite harrowing to follow along the path you paint. Technology has this ugly backdrop and it's important that we remember it in imaginative words and images such as these to stay awake to the real consequences of our technological choices.

Kathe W. said...

wow- you were ahead of your time-it is ironic that the Concorde is now mothballed. I always thought it was a bit over the top.

Stickup Artist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stickup Artist said...

Oops, typo. I'll go again.

Recently in Death Valley, I saw very few people hiking the canyons and trails, most take the place in directly from their cars. Where will all this folly and "convenience" take us, our bodies and brains? What will it make of our planet? You were ahead of your time then, and you are ahead of your time now.

Terence said...

Top-notch and lovely poem.

Lydia said...

Charles~ Dang, you write great commentary! Thank you for the prompt and for this special critique. I really appreciate both.

Kathe~ Thanks. I am struck by how much inner fire I "snuffed" as the years went by. I would add that observation in a letter-to-younger-self project...

Stickup~ Thank you. :)
Wow, that is depressing that so many people see Death Valley via vehicle. They must not be able to tear themselves away from their A/C and GPS. Wouldn't want to break a sweat while getting lost. But they are already lost, I fear.....

Terence~ That means a lot to me. Thank you.

Fireblossom said...

Girl! You are so brave, posting a poem from 1977! Mine are hidden away, under lock and key, accessible only by heads of state and the Pope! Okay, so there are maybe half a dozen moldy oldies at Word Garden under the label "early poems", but that's out of at least a dozen notebooks full. I tended to chew the scenery, in those days.

And...way to say it. "Progress" so often seems not to be.

Lydia said...

Fireblossom~ You just crack me up! I bet your old stuff is remarkable..cannot imagine it being otherwise. Still, it did take nerve to dredge it up.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

looking back i guess the concorde was the ultimate symbol of the rise of the YUPPIES (Young Upwardly Progressing Person In Executive Status) of the 80's - big phones, ridiculous cars, terrible perms and sunglasses and riding the mile high club in concorde

probably explains why the closest I ever got to riding on concorde was going to the shops and back on my bike

Lydia said...

Pixies~ You got closer to the Concorde than I did! I think your description is spot on.

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