Carin Perron: Poems & Prose
A Quiet Epiphany

This poem was written in 1982, and revised over the next two years. It leapt out of the pages of one of Anne Morrow Lindbergh's autobiographical books, War Within and Without: 1939-1944, dealing with the period just before, and into, the Second World War. The book is a collection of diary entries, letters, and reminiscences about that time. It includes details of the American struggle to stay out of the war, and the America First movement Charles Lindbergh belonged to, and continues into the time when America joined the Allied effort, and Lindbergh volunteered his aid.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, a woman herself torn by conflicting loyalties, writes clearly and objectively about her experiences. I found one of the most moving themes in the book was her friendship with Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and his death while they were still estranged over the hurtful effects of American isolationism. It is also the most realistic (and inspiring) account of a good, mature marriage I have ever read. While the Lindberghs may have disagreed violently with each other's political views, they were devoted to each other, and would not say anything to others that would appear disloyal.

The poem was inspired by Anne's diary entry for Thursday, August 17, 1939, which reads:

C. calls up and is coming home. I decide to meet him. It is cool and a lovely evening. I wait at the field. And when he comes over the field I recognize him even though I did not know what plane he was flying. It gives me such a thrill. How strange it is -- how people are like themselves! C. coming out of the sky with a kind of directness, a kind of magnificence that is only his. And when he banks his plane around the field, with that slow and absolute grace, it is as much him as a gesture of his hand. It catches my breath. I have always taken it for granted. But to see it in the is an act of creative beauty, a work of art.

p. 33, War Within and Without, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Berkeley Books, New York, 1980.
It was an electric moment for me: I wrote the poem well before I finished the book. When I neared the end of the book, she referred back to that incident, and then I realized that this moment had meant to her what it did to me, and I knew I had got it right.

Fittingly, this poem is the one that first crossed the Atlantic for me, when it won third in Bournemouth, England (see Publication, below).

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