…As Though I Had Wings


This week I celebrated fifty plus three turns around the sun and on that day Garisson Keillor read me the most beautiful Mary Oliver poem. And so I thought I'd share it. If you'd like him to read it to you, you can listen hereI've always been spellbound by the "murmurations" of Starlings that grace our skies here in winter and I think Madame Oliver catches their essence beautifully. And always, I want to "feel my boots trying to leave the ground, feel my heart pumping hard. I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing, as though I had wings." Words to live by.

Starlings in Winter

Chunky and noisy,
but with stars in their black feathers, 
they spring from the telephone wire
and instantly

they are acrobats
in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air,
they swing over buildings,

dipping and rising;
they float like one stippled star
that opens,
becomes for a moment fragmented,

then closes again;
and you watch
and you try
but you simply can't imagine

how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing,

this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin
over and over again,
full of gorgeous life.
Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,

even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;

I feel my boots 
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard, I want

to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.


Photo compliments of UK photographer John Farrar

9 Responses to …As Though I Had Wings

  1. Stephanie says:

    Fran, this is such a lovely poem…did you capture those starlings?? I can sit mesmerized for a very long time watching them move like one…swooshing from one place to another.

    Happiest of birthday wishes to you!!!


  2. nancy neva says:

    beautiful all…..and i’ve always wanted a photo of birds doing THAT…your birthday gift to me, at 60 plus 4 years…you plus 11.
    loving the altered page SECRET of yours: PAY ATTENTION~~~reminds me of my term>>>NOTICINGS..
    and another: what? “you too”…love, neva

  3. Lisa Hoffman says:

    Happy Birthday to one talented and beautiful woman.
    I hope that I get to share 53 MORE turns around the sun with you….

  4. S. Etole says:

    “I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,as though I had wings.” Oh yes, oh yes! Beautiful photo and words.

  5. Renee says:

    Wonderful wonderful! Love the photo. Love the poem. Love you! Happy Birthday Friend!

  6. Seth says:

    Happy birthday!! And thanks for the gift that you bring to us with your blog!!

  7. Rella says:

    This is so wonderful a post that once found, I had to link you from my blog so that more could experience such beauty. lovely, lovely, lovely.
    xox Rella

  8. Laura Haviland says:

    This just lovely,find you from Rella’s blog. Such a beautiful poem,loved everything.Truly lovely again.

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