On An Exalted Nonentity


John Ciardi

Must we believe that what ascends aspires?

That altitudes are measures of desires?

That nothing mounts until the holy fires

of self have dreamed a height? So Dante taught.

And though it make some difference who inquires,

and how, this world suggests a counter-thought,

suggested, maybe, by the Prince of Liars,

our Adversary, whose prompting never tires:

the eagle's ticks are airborne but no flyers.


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