Brother Sun

March 15, 2013

…An old man’s eagle mind.
—Yeats 

It seems all that was needed
to illuminate the eagle’s dreams
could be found in his illusions.
Other birds will live on
in a representation of his flight.
His sentences will
lighten the sky as though
they had always been there,
a presence so real
the air flared in its surender.
But listen. The beat of legendary wings.
All our perfections are made
of sand and paste,
he sings—
a momentary act,
a winter’s epitaph.
We pass as stone
in an orbit around the sun,
so peaceful,
infinite and alone.

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2 Responses to “Brother Sun”

  1. extrasimile Says:

    Hi Anna: ‘Dreams’ can also be used metaphorically for one’s hopes and desires, one’s plans for the future. These dreams can be realistic or not. When illusions illuminate dreams…well, you know. Thus the ensuing sentences might—might—be a catalog of the eagle’s misprisions, and via the quote from Yeats, a list of misunderstanding in that eagle mind. The eagle is also a symbol of the United States…but, let me not get carried away. That eagle might just sweep down and carry me skyward. I don’t think I’m ready for the trip, especially if he’s going to end up in orbit around the sun. ‘Once out of nature I shall never take/ My bodily form from any natural thing…’ To what extent is great poetry (and ‘Sailing to Byzantium’ is a great poem) great illusion? It might be appropriate to read ‘The Man on the Dump’ here by Wallace Stevens. (Another great poem).

  2. Anna Mark Says:

    Hello ; ) Here are a few thoughts I’d like to share while reading this poem. Dreams, illusions…what’s the difference? I suppose a dream is more often done sleeping while an illusion is awake. I find it interesting to think that an illusion could then illuminate a dream. And then, “Other birds will live on in a representation of his flight.” The way something particular becomes a symbol. I love reading how the air flares in surrender to his flight, his sentences, his language (his illusions? representations), and how the poem asks us to listen to the beat of legendary wings. I’m not sure how all of these things connect. There is the presence of dream, illusion and then of sentences which are “so real”, but made of sand and paste, something made in a momentary act and then gone, a winter’s epitaph. We pass as stone, infinite and alone. The word “infinite” ties in the dream and alone ties in the sand and paste of life, an interesting mixture of flight and ground.


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