Helen And Her Balloon


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HELEN AND HER BALLOON

And walked from my life into another dream
Where I might drink more deeply of my madness
Of balloons, of Man’s conquest of the mighty
And strange incandescences cast loose upon a shoreless sea

The elements of wind and fire combined
To lift our spirits into sudden communion
As atop the derelict tower we tasted
The soft kiss of the forbidden

The elements assembled, the flame applied
Fierce tongues so close to devouring
The delicate tissues hungry for the warmth
That will send them soaring

As a lover is hungry for love or death
And struggles wildly, desperately for equilibrium
Against the dangers of the murderous wind
Can our love survive the buffets of the gale?

A moment’s anxiety and then the word
Holding of breath – now we must surrender control
Let go, it swoops once, lurches earthward straight at me and then …
It flies! It flies!

Hangs steady and peaceful and drifts away to the wind’s beckoning
And communion grows around our shared success
As we strain to follow its dot into the far limits of vision
The pointillism of rods and cones

Like all fine art an expression of the transient
In defiance of its doom – like all fine artists
Condemned to drift into the rarefied ether of their thirties
As delivery men or out-of-work piano players

Drifts away – to come to ground who knows how
A plummeting Icarus with a pall of flame
Or a limp landfall in some muddy ditch
Sinking back into the anonymity of decay

About Ben Naga

The Spirit that graces me with its passing has no name and stems not from thoughts and words, though it gathers them up as it flows, but from feeling.

Posted on February 12, 2012, in Poetry, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. This poem flies!! Breathtaking!
    Andrea

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    • Thank you, Andrea. For your kind words you get some background. 😀

      A friend made this candle-fuelled paper balloon as an art project as part of her college course. We broke in and climbed to the top of a derelict church tower to launch it. Sometimes you have a crush on someone, but you never let on …

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  2. Wow – this is so rich with imagery and metaphor – and as I just read your comment, with literal experience. Wonderful piece, Ben – I need to come back and read this again.

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  3. Ben, there are so many allusions in this poem that I am going to have to think about it awhile.
    As a lover is hungry for love or death
    And struggles wildly, desperately for equilibrium
    Against the dangers of the murderous wind
    Can our love survive the buffets of the gale?
    This seems to me to be the heart of what you are after, followed by:
    It flies! It flies!
    Up to this point it is a poem written with a sure, practiced hand, but then…
    “Like all fine art an expression of the transient
    In defiance of its doom..”
    the balloon as a symbol of fine art and the recognition that all fine art is transient and brave in defiance of doom, the tolling of the bell, as Donne once said.
    Then the imagination: “A plummeting Icarus with a pall of flame,” speaking of the balloon and fine art, suggesting that the launching of the balloon, and the love that laid behind that launching, and fine art are all acts where we fly foolishly too close to the heat of the sun and fall blazing to the sea and death, leaving those who love us grieving our foolishness.
    Or a limp landfall in some muddy ditch
    Sinking back into the anonymity of decay…
    love, art, the effort to survive the buffets of the gale, fine art, all of that “Sinking back into the anonymity of decay” rather than plummeting with a pall of flame.
    What a poem!

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  4. Sometimes love can be so fragile, Ben, that it has to be carefully nurtured for it to survive against the buffeting winds of life. And sometimes love can be extremely strong and able to withstand many a strong assault! And sometimes it can just fade away…

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