Poetry on the Wing — One Good Paragraph #4

I just finished reading Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Listen! The Wind. It’s a pretty good book. I get the feeling that it’s been sadly overlooked since it was published in 1939. Sometimes just the passage of time buries books or authors, the sands of the hourglass piling up and obscuring them forever — until they’re unearthed. This book deserves to be read, as many obscure books do. It might make a good book for young people. It centers around one leg of one of her trips with her husband Charles, the world-famous aviator. As you read, it’s apparent that Anne was a poet — the way she hangs her sentences together, the way her words flow, is something to admire. My favorite parts of the book were when she describes hunching over listening to the radio as hard as she can, trying to hear distant stations as they cross the Atlantic, as here:

No answer in the earphones, only those stars clashing in the distance, those moons cart-wheeling through space. For you seem to hear distance and space on the radio. Sounds puncture the silence, like stars the dark, giving you a sense of perspective.

But I was beginning to hear something else beside the cosmic crashes, faint squeaks against the welter of noise, precise scratchings upon the blurred surface of sound. So dim and faint, they were no more than a twig’s tapping on a window-pane during a storm; no more than a crab’s track on sand, partly erased by a wave; or a dead leaf’s tracing on new-fallen snow. They were living, however; they were human, I was sure. They were dot-dash, Morse-code letters, words, messages of a human being.



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