Born to Jump

Poetry Month, day 22

Born to Jump

You've done a bit of it in your life, but never quite
got over that moment of panic before the thrill –
to feel that sudden shock, the jolt, the drop.
Jump and soar doesn't immediately happen; you're
off the ground but not flying. Look Ma, no wings.
The realisation hits and you scrabble for anything – 
cliff grasses, broken twigs, fallen feathers,
all cobbled together somehow, mid-air, and stitched.
The wind is whistling past rapidly, loud and screechy.
Time is not on your side. But you do improve with practice,
and hopefully, even as a beginner you stay aloft, you
build a serviceable floating device –
your parachute, perhaps – until you learn to grow 
wings, real live ones ... anyway it's not easy but
on the whole, it's exciting, it gets addictive:
the sudden shock, as I said, the scrabble, the thrill....
Way too soon really, you're flying with ease, up and up and 
down to the ground again to touch and bounce, and leap, and start all over.

Image: freely available without attribution, under CCo license.

For Poets of April at "imaginary garden with real toads" we are invited to use one of several quotations for inspiration. I chose one often wrongly attributed to Annie Dillard, who is on record as denying she ever wrote or said it. It has been attributed to others too, notably Kurt Vonnegut, but belongs to Ray Bradbury, who said, in full:

“If we listened to our intellect, we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go in business because we’d be cynical: ‘It’s gonna go wrong.’ Or ‘She’s going to hurt me.’ Or ‘I had a couple of bad love affairs so therefore …'

“Well, that’s nonsense. You’re going to miss life. You’ve got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down.” 

I have used that last sentence as a first-word acrostic. (And the title refers to the fact that I really see this as a metaphor for making poetry.)


  1. Born to that! I spend a lot of time grabbing at things on my way down, but thankfully I've not suffered too many crashes. Thanks so much for taking part in the prompt.

  2. I especially like “that moment of panic before the thrill” I’m for the long jump :-) A wonderful read.

  3. I love this quote and love what you have done with it.....always afraid of that initial drop, it keeps me fearful literally and metaphorically.....but I am learning to leap and fly.

  4. I have always wanted to be able to jump off something high and soar. Sometimes when I've been down I visualize my self jumping out a window and,either flying away or falling down to no more. Haven't felt like that for quote some time now, it was a leftover from childhood abuse.

    1. Jim, I'm shocked to learn that such a lovely, well-balanced fellow as you suffered childhood abuse! Obviously you have journeyed well since then.

  5. When I was six I jumped off the roof of our home holding a big black umbrella. I hit hard and broke my ankle. I was in a cast for most of the summer. When I got out of the cadt, a couple of weeks later I jumped again, this time using two big umbrellas. I only sprained my ankle this time and this time I got a spanking. So much for jumping, eh? I've always been a big one for jumping right into something. I love what you did with this quote.

  6. I love the magical realism in this -- from a parachute to real, live wings.

  7. I love the enthusiasm and the image of one born to jump in this glorious poem!💞 Especially this: " Time is not on your side. But you do improve with practice, and hopefully, even as a beginner you stay aloft".. is wonderfully deep and wise!💞


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