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The Flight of a Thought


I’ve enjoyed writing for many years. I'm dedicating more time to the craft in my retirement days.

Fleeting Ideas

Many years ago, I had an idea for a story that followed me around for days. I woke up one morning and tried to record it on an old 33 MHz Dell computer word processing program. The cursor on a blank page blinked at me and nothing else happened. I wrote about that experience in a journal I was keeping at the time. It was frustrating in the extreme. This short poem, which also visited me just before wake-up one day, is homage to that moment and all others like it that have followed since. I am hopeful, perhaps even optimistic, there are those among you who have had similar experience. Indeed, I would bet on it. Enjoy!


Flight of a Thought

An idea came
To the tip of my brain
Sat on the cliff
Looked over the precipice
Teetered there
And fell

Outstretched synapses
Could not grasp this
Wonderful thought
And bring it back
To a spot it could
Meet paper

Turned my head
Away instead
Detached, indifferent, coy
Maybe just maybe
If I act hard to get
It will come back

Something laughed
“It’s part of the craft,”
In a voice
Cold and cruel
Like Vincent Price
On “Thriller”

That’s fine, I think
Then stare and blink
I can ponder and muse
For a while
And come up with

Besides it could return
Is what I have learned
Through numbered years
Of schooling
And working
And writing

So for now I’ll sit here
With a warm cup of cheer
Stretch and lean out
A little bit further
Take a hopeful peek
Over the edge

© 2020 greg cain


DREAM ON on August 16, 2020:

I was excited and thrilled to follow you along on your own journey. I can feel my blood pumping through my veins. I was in the middle of something so special and yet so nerve-racking. I had to go one step farther. Reading each line as you dragged me deeper into quicksand where I could neither return nor escape. You are so gifted and I tried to try to put it into words and also fell short. I think this is not only a topic for a poem but so much greater. I life long journey that you have pinpointed and I have stumbled across. Each time we can go deeper like diving into the ocean. What is on the surface is so different that is below. From a distance, it looks all the same. One of the tricks that keep us wanting more. Then we know it is as different as each second is and it is up to us to discover the world not yet understood or misunderstood. Thank you so much. With your help, I know we could go so much farther and dig a hole that has never been dug before. Have a great day.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on May 28, 2020:

Thanks, Fran. I enjoyed putting it together, as well. The incident in question, the thing on the tip of my brain that inspired this, actually happened to me all the back in 1994. It is possible that I've gotten the idea to return at some point, but the lapse was so total, so complete that even if the thought did revisit me, I never recognized it as the one that went missing. And so it goes..l

I hope to some day get out in the RV with more regularity myself, though today won't be that day...lots of garden/yard work to do! Be well, and thanks for stopping by.

fran rooks from Toledo, Ohio on May 26, 2020:

What a great poem! I really enjoyed it. And I am never far away from post-it notes because I have learned from experience, if I fail to write it down, I'll forget.

My dream was one day to travel in an RV, soaking myself in history and sight-seeing.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on May 21, 2020:

Thanks, Holly, on both accounts. I have learned that sometimes an idea strikes me so hard I will get up even from sleep to write it down. That has become much rarer with age because I treasure the little sleep I’m able to accumulate. Also, it seems I don’t have as many original ideas anymore. I’ll think of something I’ve thought of before and tell myself, “Oh, that’ll come back. It’s visited before, so it’ll come back at a later day.” Sometimes I’m right about that, sometimes I’m wrong.

At the start of a writing day I try to commit to one thing, as you say, and honestly I’ll admit that some days I’m better at that than others, too. And so it goes...

As for your mother and mine... thank you and my condolences in return. It is difficult to lose that connection in such final fashion. Inevitably it leaves us wanting more.

Hope you have a blessed week, Holly.

Holley Morgan from Upstate New York on May 18, 2020:

I found this poem both relatable and encouraging. Yes, the thoughts can come back or if they don't, you get better ones... your ideas evolve and get ideas of their own. And then when you get a great idea, you have to commit to it for however long it takes to convey properly. My best writing thoughts seem to come just as I'm about to drift off to sleep. I always think, "Oh, I'll remember it in the morning." So far, that has never happened! I liked what you wrote about your mom too. My mother also passed in April, two years ago. You have my condolences.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on May 17, 2020:

Thanks, William. Yes, I suspected it was not uncommon...has been happening to me for years. we'll keep chugging and perhaps a good one will land and stick! Have a great Sunday, William. Thanks for dropping by to give a read.

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on May 17, 2020:

Happens to me all the time, Greg. I just figure it was one of those thoughts that were never meant to be - but they were, and now they're gone. Enjoyed the poem.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on May 17, 2020:

Devika - yes, I have sometimes been able to get to pen and paper and get an idea recorded; sometimes I cannot make it, though, and also sometimes when I try to record it the thought flies away completely, I don't know how to express it, and then it is gone...fallen over the edge into the abyss. Also, as you say, experience is the very best thing to write about. Good weekend, Devika!

Devika Primic on May 17, 2020:

Think of an idea or when the idea comes to mind jot it down immediately. Well said and written. It is sometimes a hassle to think of what to write. I focus on my experiences and that gives me a better opportunity to explore and to write.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on May 14, 2020:

Right, Bill! Gone in a flash! It may yet return, though...be on the lookout.

billybuc on May 14, 2020:

I had one the other night. I was watching a documentary, and the beginnings of an idea popped into my head, and I thought "I need to go write that down," but then the show got really good and . . .

It was gone! Damn!

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on May 13, 2020:

Hi Dora - thank you kindly, I do appreciate the sentiment. I also appreciate you stopping by now and then. It is well and good and liberating to create...but it's made so much better when someone reads your creation. Happy Wednesday!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 12, 2020:

Very well done! An idea . . . sitting on a cliff, looking over a precipice, is such an accurate picture of what happens to a writer. Beautiful poem!

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on May 11, 2020:

Hi John - I do a lot of cycling so also a lot of thinking while out on the open roads and trails. I get some of my best ideas out there, but depending on how long I go, many of them escape and maybe come back to visit at a later date. Or not. Anyway, I, too, keep pen and paper in my car and around the house for those occasions when something might need to be recorded for later expansion. I suspected it was a common plight. Seems I was right. Thanks again for stopping by. Very much looking forward to that poem next week or week after.

Gypsy Rose Lee - I am surrounded by similar items filled with half-finished thoughts and half-baked ideas. Each day seems to start with a hope to do some more comprehensive, meaningful "baking" based on a post-it note or other desktop scrawl item. Only every now and then comes a finished product I deem worthy of sharing. Thanks for reading!

Be well both of you.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on May 10, 2020:

Nicely penned. I know that feeling well I sit here and write at my PC and I am surrounded by notebooks and paper always jotting new ideas and keep you with how much I have already done.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on May 10, 2020:

Oh yes, Greg, I can certainly relate. Now if I have an idea, I stop whatever I am doing, grab a pen and notebook and jot it down so the thought can’t escape. I have sat there staring at a blinking cursor..gets kind of hypnotising after awhile. I can hear Vincent Price saying “It’s part of the craft.” Loved this poem. Good job.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on May 10, 2020:

Thank you very much, Lorna. I had a lot of fun putting this together. And yes, the struggle is real, isn't it? At least in this case I was able to turn the frustration into something. A poem--this poem--was not where I started, but sometimes I think we should just go where we are led. Thanks for stopping by.

Lorna Lamon on May 09, 2020:

Such a clever use of wordplay Greg and I can certainly relate. Ideas are very hazy to me until I sit down and start to write. Nothing makes sense until I have finished, and even then I have my doubts. I enjoyed this poem which described those fleeting thoughts perfectly.

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