The Immortal Pilots

By Chase Twichell b. 1950 Chase Twichell
The noise throws down
twin shadows, hunting shadows
on a black joy ride.

They roar up the silver vein of the river
and out over the stony peaks,

which have been shrunken to a luminous
green musculature on the screens.
Who are the pilots, too high to see

the splayed hearts of deer tracks

under the apple trees, or smell
the cider in the fallen fruit?

Who are the vandals that ransack
the wilderness of clouds?

Below them, a thin froth of waterfall
spills from a rock face.
They see its sudden wreckage,

its yielding gouts,

and the wind tear into the papery
leaves of the poplars, roughing them up

so the undersides show—
a glimpse of paleness
like a glimpse of underwear.

The pilots are young men,
and still immortal.

Already in the cold
quadrants of their hearts
they imagine the whole world

flowering beneath them. It feels
like love, like being with a woman
who flowers beneath them,

so that they wonder
how it would feel to go on
riding the young green world that way,

to a climax of spectral light.

“The Immortal Pilots” by Chase Twichell from The Ghost of Eden: Poems, published by Ontario Review Press. © 1995 by Chase Twichell. Used by permission of Chase Twichell.

Source: The Ghost of Eden: Poems (Ontario Review Press, 1995)

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Poet Chase Twichell b. 1950

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

 Chase  Twichell


Chase Twichell was born in New Haven, Connecticut. She earned her BA from Trinity College and MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. A practicing Buddhist, she is the author of several books of poetry, and her work often reflects her spiritual practice. In an interview Twichell note that “Zen is said to be a ‘mind-to-mind transmission.’ The best poems are exactly that: they leap from one mind to another without stopping to explain . . .

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POET’S REGION U.S., New England

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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