Original: Summer 1952. Key West Naval Hospital, Florida. On beach outside
Surpassing the delight of taking flight
Of seeing earth receding as you lift
Surpassing the experience of height
Of really feeling like a drifting cloud,
There is the heavenly enlightened gift
With which the mind of mankind is endowed
That lifts at first his ideas inwardly
And lets him fashion marvels like the blimp
That fly in spirit space, and then, in gravity.
Thar barr an taitnimh bheith ag éirí suas
Ag feiceáil talaimh thíos ag gabháil siar
Thar barr na heachtra bheith in airde thuas
Ag aireachtáil dáiríre amhail néal.
Tá bua léirithe ó neamh go fíor
A dearlaictear intleacht fear sa saol
A ardaíonn idé ar dtús istigh
Ag ligean ceapadh dó ’leithéid de bhlimp
I spás an anama roimh imtharraingt amuigh.
Translation to Irish: 4 December, 2003. Inside, out of the cold
Raymond J. Clark
Réamonn Ó Cléirigh
Comment: This poem, which I picked out at random, is constructed in a nine line sonnet form I first saw in books when I was in high school. But in the summer of 1950, 1 believe, I changed the rhyme scheme to what I used to call a 'bee-pob' form, a term I think I took from the jazz music I used to listen to. I am sure I invented this form because I never saw it before I began to use it. I break the rhyme in the fourth line, then pick it up from the second line in the fifth. The eighth line doesn't have to rhyme with any other line. This suited me because I was able to change the thought easily after the fourth line and the eighth line gave me some extra freedom for the ending.
I don't know why I was at the hospital. Maybe I just walked over there. From the beach I saw the blimp moving slowly in the sky. It was made of metal and it was heavy. I sat down and began to make up a poem. I use the first four lines imagining I was up in the sky in the blimp and feeling like a cloud. But the "ord 'surpassing' suggests there is something better coming. In the next four lines, I'm not up in the sky anymore. I'm in the mind of the designer where the idea of the blimp is lifting in a spirit sky. In the very last line I bring my first thought about weight into it with the word 'gravity' and I hope it can be seen that I am comparing two different worlds. In the spirit world the idea of gravity is overcome first, then gravity itself is overcome in the outside world. So the blimp is a marvel because it is heavy and defies gravity.