Tuesday, September 4, 2018

"Catching a Plane after Attending a Conference" by Howard Stein

Catching a Plane after Attending a Conference
Howard Stein    

"Flight" Watercolor on Paper
By J. Artemus Gordon
I do not want to leave here –
the lanky maple with century-wide trunks,
the intense conversations
with unexpected intimacies,
the fresh ideas
that electrify my brain.

I take the earliest bus to the airport
to be certain I do not miss my plane.

Poet's Notes:  This is a poem about ambivalence, yearning, loss, reluctant acceptance, and much more. Over my career, I have attended and made presentations at international, national, and regional conferences of many disciplines. Invariably, I was sad and ambivalent about leaving to return home. Unfortunately, the intense several days of fresh ideas, visits with old and new friends, shared meals, and learning unfamiliar surroundings had to end. This poem is a memorial to the times of feeling a heightened aliveness and to the painful separation and letting go.

Editor’s Notes:  The blank space between the stanzas here is crucial.  It represents the ambivalence of the speaker better than any words possibly could.  I also enjoy the nice rhyme between the final words of the stanzas, which neatly connects the two disparate feelings in each.

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