Aerial Manoeuvres (Film-Poem)

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Aerial Manoeuvres

In dreams, I am convinced
I have always been able to fly–
the updraft from the cliff
will catch me like my mother
when I launched from the stairs
on a bird-brained impulse,
avian memory, invincible faith.
Airline rituals reassure me–
the act is routine ad tedium–
tyres drift up off the tarmac,
metal wings skate the air.
“Falling doesn’t hurt,” we joke,
“it’s hitting the ground.”
So I fall, and fall into myself,
gasping awake on a feather bed.
Larks slice through the dawn,
and part of me goes with them,
diving toward the updrafts,
hoping, mid-air, to be caught.

Process Notes

I had a feeling of the kind of film-poem I wanted to create here, something about flight. I used Blender to render a flock of birds and then composited them together with historic aviation footage from the Prelinger Archives. The poem wrote itself after that, and Valerie’s piano accompaniment followed. We also recorded birdsong on an H1 Zoom and looped it to create a backdrop of sound.