Wednesday, December 7, 2016


I've never been one of those people
Who would love to fly like a bird,
To see the world from its point of view.
I hate height.
I don't like roller coasters, ferris wheels
Anything so high it ignites, 
Then condenses my fears
Into one screechy scream
Of the ultimate raw admission -
I'm afraid to die!

But no scream emerged that day.
I sat scared silent staring
As the plane's little window 
Exposed nature's immense power
To be
friend or foe.

I was present to my being.
My life did not cross before me.
The absence of my life is what became clear.
How could life proceed without me?
My daughter, family, friends.
I was important
To them, to myself.

Incredibly, there were tender moments.
My husband held my hand so tight,
I felt us become one in the strength of our love.
There were funny moments.
The man sitting next to us sat frozen,
pretending to read, unaware
He held his book upside down.
Mostly, there were terrifying moments 
When the plane fell trembling  
Into pockets of empty space.
Turbulence laughed, played with us,
Like a child with a ball.

I hate heights.
But I have flown again
Because I'm human.
I exist
In this age and time.

Sometimes I wonder 
Why humanity has to strive
To improve aviation,
To go higher.
I think we're trying
Not to defy death,
but confront it,
Live fully,
avoid extinction.

(For Poets United.)


  1. I used to fly, and Peggy and I even owned one-sixth of a small plane. I have always been afraid of heights, and I thought to overcome it through flying, but I didn’t, perhaps because one is enclosed in a plane, so the experience is very different from looking off a cliff or a steep roof.

  2. I am afraid of heights when NOT in a plane--like in ferris wheels or on cliffs. Perhaps it is as you say, a confrontation and a hopeful conquering. I love this "The absence of my life is what became clear," and the tenderness, the humor of others intention to look brave. I'm not sure my poem--for all its love of flying--is saying anything different.

  3. Wow, you took me right into that experience. I resonate with, when one feels death approaching, the calmness that falls over us, as we sit waiting, no panic, resignation, like watching a movie unfold.That occurred when my car hydroplaned, as I was carried across the highway into the abutment....... I am so glad this event you described ended well........

  4. Really I don't like to fly either. And sometimes when I do fly I am very much afraid. And turbulence scares me greatly. But yes, in this time, we sometimes MUST fly....even though we don't like it.

  5. ignites,
    Then condenses my fears
    Into one screechy scream
    ...beautiful line....

  6. Powerful, beautiful, life and love affirming. Thank you.
    I don't like planes - but would love to be a bird.

  7. another beauty the contemplative note of the poem and faith in humanity & not without humor :)

  8. This is beautifully poignant writing, Myrna.. my sister has the fear of heights too.. your poem reminded me of her.

    Lots of love,

  9. What a philosophical poem Myrna - I agree with your parting thoughts and the honest statement about being afraid to die.. i think that perhaps in some way that reminds us of positive things - the man with the upside down book made me smile too

  10. Unless one is at the controls flying is really an act of submission where you give up all control over you future life until you safely land again.

  11. 'I think we're trying
    Not to defy death,
    but confront it,
    Live fully,
    avoid extinction.'
    Interesting point of view. I fly when I have to, but I'm never happy about it.

  12. Yes indeed, Myrna, we have to confront our fears and overcome them, thus becoming stronger. As you say many people fear flying as they fear dying in an aviation accident, and yet think nothing of getting in their car, where the chances of injury or death are higher...
    Good one!