WHEN THE EAGLE FLIES BACKWARDS
By Justy DeForest
ONE AMERICAN’S LAMENT:
When the Eagle flies backwards,
it is not a miracle but a tragedy.
When the winds that had once lifted it up to sail
along and aloft in the skyward waves
become unseen demons in its view,
tempting it upward to o’er-vault the sun—
When it begins to distrust the worth of its feathers
and plucks them out one by one—
When it forgets, finally, what its wings are for,
and they grow frail from lack of use—
When the weight of inertia slows the beat
of a once restless heart in adventurous breast—
When its forward-seeking eyes roll back
and cease to search the fields for sustenance or joy—
When, at last, it bows its noble head
as swallows, in swarms, take flight above it—
Then shall we scratch our heads like common fools
and ask how such an age has come to pass?
But the wise among us, though not in pride,
will voice the answer we already know:
The day an Eagle starts flying backwards
is the beginning of its end.
THE EAGLE’S REPLY:
Do not despair, My Country.
Do not give up, My Friends,
For I know the Eagle, and it shall fly again.
For I am the Eagle, and I will soar again!
I am wounded, bloodied,
But these wounds will heal.—others have before!
And I will go forward…
It is time to realize that I take flight because of you.
Your hopes uplift me.
Your actions work my wings.
Your vision steers my course.
Look forward once more and believe!
The past is a crucible of disparate memories —
Of thoughts purified or petrified at the thinker’s will —
To reckon with, surely, but not to wreck us!
The present rides with us yet on my sturdy plumes unplucked —
A myriad diverse to carry us forth to our future’s longing.
Aim me steadily with bold hearts in the direction of The Dream!
© Justy DeForest 2020