Daniel’s Goodbye

Hold my hand and sit with me a minute, Daniel
and i will say my goodbyes
if i can find the words
because now that the final of the first-things-firsts are finished
and done
and now that all the girls and the boys
and all the reporters
are here, come gathered, come gawking
come slapping their foreheads at what we have done
what we have gone and created
out of nothing Daniel.
There’s nothing left to say but, ‘yes’
because we made this
and despite what everybody said
we made this.
And maybe they’re right.
Maybe she is nothing more than some highly organised driftwood timber and tin
and a tractor engine Daniel
and maybe she is nothing more than a handful of patches
pinned and stitched into bedsheet spinnakers
nothing but a couple of old clock gears
and the battered old butterfly wings of a windmill
but we made this
a flipping sky-boat, Daniel
we made this
and now, now that they’ve come, singing
‘tell me son, do you really think she will fly?”
I will say ‘yes’.
Look at her.
she is as clumsy as she is delicate as she is beautiful
and she will fly
as graceful and as improbable as a pelican perhaps
but she will fly
i bet my hat on it.

and i really like this hat Daniel,
but i believe in u.
and i believe in us. i believe in every night we stayed up late
with the wireless and the whistle-along-withs in a workshop kept warm
til first light of the morning
hammers and saws
and i believe in u Daniel.
i believe in u the way you have believed in me
I remember the gifts you gave me
i remember the badges, the binoculars
and the way you took me, tore me from my books
and a fear of people
said, now look, you are more beautiful than you could ever imagine
and then some
Oh Daniel, i’m going to miss you
And you know, I never thought that it would end like this.
And for all the joy and the relief that comes with confetti and streamers
i’ve got nothing but a kiss left branded on a tear-stained cheek
tell me Daniel,
is there any gift i can give you but freedom now
and i might want you to stay
… i want u to stay.
but i need you to go
so go let it end this way
and I will seek out the company of trees
and with these hands, throw up my hands,
and call down the King of the cup bearer sky
Hear me now!
This boy is called to you and with you he belongs
so come on now
come call him from my
come draw him from my
come tear him from my breast if you have to
This boy is called to you and with you he belongs
and i will not hold him back from you love
anymore
i surrender him to you
i surrender him to you
i surrender him to you

xx–xx–xx

And Daniel, I know
I know you’re not ready
but you are ready enough.
So say yes, Daniel
because I will sing for you in my soul if you say yes Daniel
say yes
Say “yes, I’m all set and ready for take off
Count me down now
I’ve got wind at my tail, full sails and a blank slate of sky
I am ready to fly!”
so Let her fly now Daniel
flip the ignition and let out the choke
and with the great bellows blowing out pillows of smoke
i will go pull the chocks out from in front of the wheels
and let her go
and like a shuddering giant shaking off slumber
she comes all thumbs, stumbling down the runway
just get out the way and let her move now
c’arn move now
The moo-cows look bored and bemused but you
Let her rip
Let her rip
The momentum gathering to a harrowing clip
When it happens, it happens
and it happens so quick
as now that slippery dip cliff top tips into view
And the crowd there gathered under festival banners and balloons
‘oooh’s and ‘ahhh’s and then throws up a cheer
as you come battering past
come thumping, flattening grass
come grunting, lunging, gathering a charge at a hole in the sky
And I am right by your side
I am nothing but a blur of pin stripes and a tiger-tail tie
ai yi yi I’m tight-lipped and thick in the midst of a chase of children
That trip and stumble and stack it on the rocks
I’m dodging, zigging, zagging, jumping over dogs
The grass birds panic, and lift
and then scatter in flocks
And my job
As I pull the last of the chooks out from in front of the wheels
Is over
Now you’re on your own now over,
over and out
and now I can see you,
your courage drawn, brave boy
Rushing the defenses of the edge,
I say yes
I can see you,
Your head down now and breathless
Rounds of fear like a firesong breaking in your breast
I say yes
I can see you,
your get-set clenched white knuckles
in the tumble, the tumble of second to second now
Pull back on the wheel and bounce of the ledge
I say Go you good thing, Go!
You hear me boy?!?
Fly baby, fly baby fly baby fly!

–x–x–x–x–

… And in the end, it all comes down to this
the lift off.
The will she now..?
the ping-pong ball is tossed
the stalled heart stops still and the belly drops
and with bated-breath
the earth, the moon, the trees and the stars just watch
God pull something from his pocket
Go you Good thing, Go.
And you’re gone
and Daniel, my companion of stars
The dream and the boy
Drives, wobbles, drives
Into space

and from way down here,
I’m waving my hat, from way down here
and yr exactly where u are supposed to be
yr arms spread wide, yr back arched over a breath of sky
breaking free
breaking free
good bye Daniel
fly baby fly baby fly baby fly
good bye Daniel
good bye Daniel
goodbye.

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