Failing and Flying

by Jack Gilbert

Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.
It's the same when love comes to an end,
or the marriage fails and people say
they knew it was a mistake, that everybody
said it would never work. That she was
old enough to know better. But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly.

Like being there by that summer ocean
on the other side of the island while
love was fading out of her, the stars
burning so extravagantly those nights that
anyone could tell you they would never last.
Every morning she was asleep in my bed
like a visitation, the gentleness in her
like antelope standing in the dawn mist.
Each afternoon I watched her coming back
through the hot stony field after swimming,
the sea light behind her and the huge sky
on the other side of that. Listened to her
while we ate lunch. How can they say
the marriage failed? Like the people who
came back from Provence (when it was Provence)
and said it was pretty but the food was greasy.
I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of his triumph.


  1. beautiful --flying so close to the sun is after all glorious

  2. Something about shooting for the Moon and landing in the Stars. Good thoughts.

  3. Hope you're feeling a bit more human today! We've had a run of ear infections in our neck of the woods (the ronald is still on steroid nasal spray!)... have been catching up with your words.. every one of which has been picked beautifully as always. The T.S Elliot thing is particularly good, not sure the maids would be too chuffed about being described in such a way though :-)
    cheers for the reading, have a good one!

  4. Seldom do I comment, because most of your choices elude my ability to find appropriate words. But, I always am deeply touched.

  5. This is so touching....there really are no mistakes....we take away new lessons learned from every "failure".....take care of you! smiles.

  6. Marriages crashing and burning all around me at this point in my life. Maybe there's a bit of glory in the flaming embers raining out of the sky.


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