Tradition and the Individual Talent

for T.S. Eliot

When Icarus took flight with home-made wings
he sought to rise above, not divine laws,
but listening to how the eagle sings
attempted to reach past the aeropause

that culture places on its young when born
to limit how far flung their dreams may reach,
and teaches children to avoid its scorn
by tempering their thoughts in civil speech.

Poor Daedelus, tradition’s solid stock,
can only watch in anguish from the bluff
as his bright future plummets to the rocks,
its bindings frayed, momentum not enough.

Against the ceiling set by common whim
there is no soar or dive; just fall, or skim.

03 JUN 2004

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