Harold Worked In An Airport Hangar

You made me sad, like those
Japanese soldiers who’d drank sake
after a dinner of rice and dried
anchovies, and a salted plum.
White band round their foreheads.
Ribbons trailing their wings,
their planes sought a battleship,
or aircraft carrier, only to dive
headlong into the war machines.

Dad asked me to plant a vegetable patch
behind the house, said Harold. Then
he told another story. A guard who’d
slapped him at the sentry, but
his protector, a Mr Shibata, was
less forbearing–he gave the guard
a good beating. Well, the guard, with
bloodshot eyes, had laughed nervously
and said sorry to Harold.

As usual, we’d like to seem bigger
than we are, more substantial.
It’s like a camouflage. Just like
the several planes made of rattan
and covered in green, just to fool
the Americans. We coiled into
whatever we’re feeling, those
salty thoughts, fibbing a little,
when all we had were husks.

Prompt:

Hey guys there’s about a week left for you to submit to our Fall/Winter 2016/2017 issue. Submissions close on 25 February. The theme is, The Heart Knows. Knowing is terribly important, is it not? In Antoine De Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince, the prince had met a wild fox who’d asked him to tame it. Once you’ve tamed the fox, he won’t be just a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. He’d have become your friend, the only one of his kind in the world. Same thing with roses, said the fox. “It’s the time that you gave to your rose that makes your rose so important,” he said.

“People have forgotten this truth,” said the fox. “But you mustn’t forget it. You become responsible for ever for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose…”

That’s why the prince had to die. So that he could return to the only rose on his planet. And thereafter the narrator would always think of his friend, the little prince, when he looked at the stars.

The secret, said the fox, is that “you can only see clearly with your heart. What’s essential is invisible to the eye.”

See if this quote inspires a poem.

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