BooksMade possible by

The Tuesday Poem: ‘Ascend’ by Bart English

Every day this week the Spinoff Review of Books is publishing a new poem in the build-up to the Phantom Billstickers national poetry day on Friday. Today: ‘Ascend’ by Bart English

 

Ascend

Inspired by Maya Angelou’s “A caged bird”

 

I look

Up at the sky

And wish that I could fly,

To grow wings on these feeble limbs

But I –

 

– I hear

As the wind calls,

Tempting me to follow,

Chase her across the infinite

Blue sky.

 

I trace

Invisible

Paths of winged distant specks

But I know they will never climb

Like me.

 

This cage

That grounds me still

Is my springboard into

The sky that lies just beyond my

outreach.

 

I sigh

For those who fly,

They will never truly

Know what it is to transcend and

Seek heights

 

Above

Where the eye sees

And traverse that hallowed

Space, where even birds dare not try

To go.

 

So laugh

Your brittle cries,

Eagle, wren, bluebird and crow

But you will never soar past me

Caged bird.


From A Conversation Between Two Tui by Bart English (CopyPress, $30)


The Spinoff Review of Books is brought to you by Unity Books

The Spinoff Longform Fund is dedicated to facilitating investigative journalism. Our focus is on supporting in-depth reporting on important New Zealand stories. Your donation will help us sustain this most resource-intensive form of journalism, ensuring that the most complex and important stories still get told.