Gregory Foster on “the man who created eagle’s wings”

the man who created eagle’s wings.
A children’s story: for or against science.

A man once created eagle’s wings.
He observed a Hawk, and wondered at the mechanism that permitted the bird to fly.
The bird had wings. That is what he called them.

The bird was a bird and much more than that:
The bird was a part of the ecosystem (which was much more than that):

But the man, on the ground (looking UP!)
could not see that (He dependent->depended too much on his   s
eye sometimes).

The man saw the bird’s wings.
And he wanted them.

The man built a pair of wings for himself.
He tried many designs, and had many close calls, until he found it.

And when he found it he soared higher and farther than any man had before.
Than any man had EVER!

But they chafed him, and made his arms sore.
Like a weightlifter.

He noticed that his body had changed since he had been flying.
His arms were getting bigger, and his back spanned broader.

This made him wonder and gave him ideas:
Perhaps I need to GROW my wings like a butterfly does.

A butterfly is just a tiny little caterpillar at first (this is how it is a baby).
But they trans->form->transform into a butterfly after building a cocoon to safely grow wings.

This was it!
The man decided he would build a cocoon and grow wings.

The man dreamed while he was in the cocoon:

…if I grow wings, then I will be able to fly like a Hawk does, and it will not hurt because it is OF me…

Soon the boy woke up, and =../feltwings\..=
He tried to stretch them, but forgot about the cocoon, which stretched too.

He found the place he had left to open the cocoon
and began to tear open his way from within.

The light shone upon his eyes, his face, his wings
and he was One.

He awakened a new part of his brain, a part that had lain dormant waiting for ever, its whole time
Til this day when he needed to know, to learn how to fly
The way the wind currents behave
the techniques for climbing the updrafts
the way to look for prey
the sun’s role<->roll convecting currents
then moon’s light
the rain’s chill
the snow’s white canvas and the mouse’s darting
the fox, the ferret
the lynx, the bobcat
the man and his guns

the Eagle looked sideways, his eyes always following.

He’s come full circle, and returned to the place of decision.
Gregory Foster, (Shoal Creek, Austin, Texas: April 11-18, 2010).

Gregory Foster Posted on behalf of on Sunday, April 18th, 2010 under Source Texts.


  1. nice. beautiful prosaic poem. boy-man-butterfly-eagle. but what is the decision? is it one of transformation? or is it whether or not he should poop on the hunters head?

  2. I wouldn’t necessarily regard those as mutually exclusive courses of action 🙂

    More seriously, I hope you’ll forgive me if I avoid engaging your question directly. I can tell you what I think when I read this poem but I’m not sure I can do so here without compromising what I regard as my role as the poem’s creator/conduit. As creators, I think we should try to enable as many possibilities and healthy lifeways for our works as possible – especially when those works are fledgling, first out in the world. Definition, while a classical human pastime, is a fundamentally constraining and subtly confusing activity. So I can’t with clear conscience tell you what I think at this time in a public forum as my intent with this poem is to quietly place the reader in a context of choice, glimpsed from a novel perspective, in a fruitful exercise. I believe there are many things there.

  3. Beautiful. Thanks for the sharing Gregory. Of the tweet, this website and the wonderful place I was taken to with this poem.


  4. @David, thanks for sharing your enjoyment – that means a lot to me. And thanks for spreading the good word with and about the folks on #samehuman, #enext, and #junto. I’ve seen @VenessaMiemis tag tweets with #junto before, and wondered at the connection with Benjamin Franklin’s salon. I will set up a TweetDeck column to follow 🙂

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