Kite-flying

When I was young and still a boy, I owned
A set of gaudy kites – a paper fleet,
The pride and joy of my short schoolyard stay.
On fair days I’d bring my kites to a field,
Choose one, and hold it in my arms aloft,
A votive offering to the wind: that god
Of places lost, those unvisited haunts,
Where no foot treads and the dust gathers slow.
The wind has touched them, knows them as her own,
Has heard the sorrows of their echoing voice,
And storming, screams them to a careless world.
I did not know this then. I was a child,
Unversed in the language of place and thing.
But I knew then, as I know now, this truth:
That prayers once spoke are not forgotten. No,
The wind will take your breath and hold it whole,
And in some distant time a boy will watch
With wonder as his kite is given wings,
And think unbid of voices that do not die.

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