The Kestrel

The Kestrel

I spied this evening gravity's bane, ground-
  Defying dusk's dirigible: an airship, soaring,
  Drifting in the dust-driven draft, mooring-
Mounted, engines churning, yearning to bound
Into the sky! Then, down, ‘round, and ‘round,
  As a raptor circles groundling prey, spooring,
  The Kestrel met the mooring, engines roaring.
Breath broken, I watched as her tether wound.
The ship's skin stretched, struts strained,
  Snapped! AND the fire that bloomed from within
Eclipsed the setting sun.  Downward sparks rained,
  Fiery teardrops reflected in their salty kin.
And yet, fantasies of flight remain;
  A tragic crash shan't quash the dreams of men.

— Stace Johnson, 2013

This poem appeared in Volume 9, issue 4 of Tales of the Talisman in May of 2014. It’s a pastiche of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ “The Windhover“, hence the odd, “sprung” meter.

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Publication Announcement

I arrived home from my first vacation in years Sunday to find a copy of Tales of the Talisman waiting in my mailbox. This is the issue that includes my steampunk sonnet, “The Kestrel”, which is a pastiche poem inspired by Gerard Manley Hopkins‘ “The Windhover“. (At least one other Colorado writer is represented in this issue: Ian Brazee-Cannon‘s story “A Night at the Club” also appears.)

Tales of the Talisman Volume IX, Issue 4

Tales of the Talisman Volume IX, Issue 4

Basically, I asked myself, “What if Gerard Manley Hopkins had been inspired more by technology than the priesthood?” I dug out my old Norton Anthology of English Literature and refreshed myself on Hopkins’ unique sprung rhythm so I could try to stay true to the meter of the original poem. Hopkins is my favorite poet, and in writing this pastiche, I meant no disrespect toward him or his work. I see it as more of a tribute to his writing, as well as an opportunity to work within a unique poetry framework, where the meter is dictated by the number of stresses in a line, rather than the number of syllables and feet.

Tales of the Talisman is a beautiful magazine, chock full of excellent writing. David Lee Summers did a great job putting this one together, and I’m honored to have my work represented.

 

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