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Literary Hook: Poem shares ambivalence of flying

January 11, 2012

Christine Swanberg

By Christine Swanberg
Author and Poet

For many, flying is a joy. For others, it is a chore. For a few, it is phobically terrifying.

Most of us probably have conflicting ideas about flying, depending on how things are going up there at 35,000 feet or how long we have had to wait for our flight. Though we may not be fearful, from time to time we might experience some existential disquietude without our feet on terra firma. Surely, many of us have asked, “What are we doing up here anyway?”

Bill Zartman’s poem captures this human ambivalence in a crisp, concise and well-designed poem.


Airplane Flight

Just outside the thick window, the air is cold and thin;

Intense sunlight glints on the silver wing

that stretches precariously into space

The hoarse groan of the engine is relentless;

Its gaping mouth sucks ravenously for air —

the sound is heard deep in the bones

A vast, blue sky reaches to the horizon and beyond;

Far below, a blanket of white clouds slyly invites us

to run and leap in its softness

We are suspended in this strange place;

A sea of heads staring forward —

uninvited visitors in a hostile world

About the author: Retired from a local manufacturing company, Bill Zartman enjoys creative writing, playing the violin, bicycling and travel. Summers are spent in the north woods of Wisconsin. His family includes a wife, two adult children, a son-in-law and a new grandson.

Christine Swanberg is a local author and poet.

From the Jan. 11-17, 2012, issue

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