Monday, July 03, 2006

Icarus




What is it about Icarus that fascinates me? Aiming too high, too rashly? There's a Muriel Rukeyser poem that a good friend gave me when we were freshmen in college that has always stuck with me. I never understood or questioned why she gave it to me. I guess she just thought it would speak to me, eighteen and reframing the questions. But I didn't bother asking why she sent me the poem. Is it possible to ask questions almost ten years later of your friend who has also aged ten years? We're not exactly standing at the precipice anymore. There are times when you wish you could go back and ask all the questions you should have asked.

But looking back, I feel like I did ask a lot of questions. I didn't buy into the proverbial wings (boyfriends, easy A classes, obvious majors, safe choices, among others), but I did wait around for certain things. Going to Paris for the second semester of my junior year released me from that holding pattern. I was free to make of my life exactly what I chose for myself. Today, I look at that friend who gave me the poem and I wish I could offer her some wings. Was the poem a plea for help? A cautionary tale? Another chance? Is it too late for her to fly back? She called me this weekend while on vacation and didn't leave a number. How can you help someone who doesn't give you the information you need to help them?

2 Comments:

Blogger R J Keefe said...

Rukeyser's personalizing treatment bends the Icarus legend away from Auden's "Ecole des Beaux Arts."

Mon Jul 03, 07:29:00 PM  
Blogger Ms. NOLA said...

I am not familiar off the top of my head w/ this Auden poem... Gotta look it up!

Mon Jul 03, 08:06:00 PM  

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