Small Plane in Kansas

Small Plane in Kansas

C'mon said the pilot and
the three of us climbed onto
the wing and into the snug plane.
With a short run we took off,
lurched upward, soared,
changed direction, missed a treetop,
and found an altitude.
Silo and wood below us
perfect toys, the field
so close you could see
the nested half-circles
where the tractor had turned in ploughing.

That's how it is in the flying dream,
where I step into a wind
with the seven-league boots of euphoria,
letting go, rising, each
pulse a step. Out there
from the height of self-love
I survey the reduced world.

Mastered by mastering,
I so much belong to the wind
I become of it, a gust
that flows, mindless for ever
along unmarked channel
and wall-less corridor where
the world's invisible currents run,
like symptoms, like remedies.

—Thom Gunn, 1982

Used by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved. “Small Plane in Kansas” is from Complete Poems by Thom Gunn. Copyright © 1994 by Thom Gunn. CAUTION: Users are warned that this work is protected under copyright laws and downloading is strictly prohibited. The right to reproduce (other than printing out a page for personal use) or transfer the work via any medium must be secured with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC.

Home page image: "Wegbereiter Ikarus," print, woodblock on paper, by Wilhelm Geissler, 1966. (Courtesy NASM)

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