Planes

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With birds I can believe
flight: parrots rising through green fire,
sea-birds slicing direction from the air,
swallows scooping and turning.
Even
the swan of Sibelius, ponderous,
beats up from black water
like hypnosis.

As if air is our machine of flight
awaiting body.
These smooth silver bodies
no less amazing than
the God-forsaken angles of wire and cloth,
and spluttering engines.
This flight
of nerve, of
logic to rivetting fact.

To see one drone
above the flame of the bougainvillea
reminds me: a recurring dream
that plunges them, trailing the sky’s chute.
A blast as they hit among the suburbs.
Bewildered, all the passengers
standing like things of light.

And today
when I am strong
and you are weakest
or your body huge and silver,
mine — skin pulled tight over angled wire —
is here the endurance of love
is here faith
the ‘soul’ our machine of flight
awaiting body, nerve
and the fraught heart.

Other translations:

With birds I can believe
flight: parrots rising through green fire,
sea-birds slicing direction from the air,
swallows scooping and turning.
Even
the swan of Sibelius, ponderous,
hypnotically beats up from black water.

As if air was our machine of flight
awaiting body.
These smooth silver bodies
no less amazing, and no less
than the God-forsaken angles of wire and cloth,
spluttering engines.
This flight
of men
logic to rivetting fact.
Mind our machine of possibility
the flight of nerve.

Now to see one drone
above the flame of the bougainvillaea
reminds my recurring dream
that plunges them, trailing the sky’s chute.
A blast as they hit among the suburbs.
Bewildered, find all the passengers
standing like things of light.
And now today
when I am strong
and You are weakest
or Your body huge and silver,
mine — skin pulled tight over angled wire —
is here the endurance of love
is here faith
the soul our machine of flight
awaiting body, nerve
and the fraught heart.

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