A poem's flight

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I am looking out the airplane window. The thickness of the window and the wall of the airplane seem too slight for our height and the space beyond. I can see rivers and lakes as they catch the glint of early evening's summer sun through gaps in the plowed up clouds. Long thin lines of light and shadow fall from the cloud edges and disappear into milky grey. The headphones I am wearing transmit Aaron Copland's music, which seems appropriate to the open and uniquely American landscape below.

The woman across the aisle is eating Lifesavers and doing crossword puzzles. Does she know how astonishing it is to be in this moment of time? Mathematical equations, dreams recorded in hierogliphics, are taking us from Pittsburgh to Dallas. That woman, and all the others on the plane, with their digital watches and electronic games, all of us who have been lifted up by a poem and will be placed safely down again by a poem, are one on the edge of a new vision, of seeing arrangements of thoughts having power to lift and move, rather than arrangements of things. Will we see this in Dallas, or will it come to each of us separately, to some up here, to others down there on one of the gold-flecked rivers? The vision has to do with time, space, love, inevitable arrangements of thoughts, and poems that leap continents and take us to new worlds.

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