Each spring, fragile buds appear on the side of the roads. Flashes of brilliant color will soon appear in the corner of our eyes as we drive past the pale strands of last year’s grass and pale gravel. In our writing, this is the time that poems often change their color too, from the deep reflection and remembering of winter’s stark gray’s to spring’s vibrant hope of new life. Written while Vernonian Greg Kintz was still in college, his poem “The Flight” describes the exhilaration of his pursuit of new love for the woman who would become his wife of 32 years. The poem defies the “roses are red, violets are blue” conventions of the love poem. It presents a startling new metaphor that takes the age-old longing of a man for his beloved to new heights and, in the process, opens up a vast new horizon for us to view love and the love poem in fresh new ways.
As I pursue you
Through the flights and wanderings of mind,
I cannot catch you
Unless you yield to me.
For the speed of life
Is not unlike that of light;
So great, so amazing
That it is nearly incomprehensible.
You have slowed
And have allowed me,
In my ignorance of such speeds,
To achieve the necessary mach
To spin and rise
To such heights with you
That no man has ever been capable of.
Life is like that,
But only if love flows.
For it is the only fuel known
For just such an excursion.
—Writer’s Idea: Greg Kintz has taken the traditionally un-lovely image of the jet aircraft to describe his experience of love from a new physical perspective of movement: speed, altitude, acrobatics. By doing this, he can speak about love using a new language and create a new understanding and appreciation in the reader. Try switching your language and senses in your writing to achieve a new realization of your topic: Write about food from the perspective of touch rather than taste, write about mud from the perspective of taste rather than touch. Try to get at a thing through the side window of your senses rather than through the front door.
—Writer’s Tip: This poem makes use of an extended metaphor to capture the impression of his image on multiple levels. Greg Kintz uses technical references to the speed of light, to mach speed to emphasize the velocity of his pursuit. He uses references to altitude and aerial acrobatics to describe his efforts to pursue his love, and finally he describes love itself as the jet fuel propelling him in his pursuit. When a writer creates a metaphor, sometimes it helps to fully develop it in multiple ways throughout the poem so that love is not just a jet flying fast but is also compared to its height, maneuverability, and even its fuel.
—WE ARE LOOKING FOR LOCAL POETRY. WE NEED YOUR POEMS!! Please send your original submissions to InkwellVernonia@gmail.com or by mail: PO Box 73 Vernonia, OR 97064. Please include your name and contact information.
Chris Sedlmeyer holds an M.A. in English, specializing in archetypal criticism and medieval spirituality. He has written for the American Benedictine Review and currently writes a weekly blog on Carmelite spirituality and discernment for the American Province of the Order of Carmelites of the Ancient Observance.