The Press 16th Annual Student Poetry Project: High School, First Place: icarus retold
icarus as a love story
icarus as a boy, young and in love and
fallen not from grace but
into the depths of it.
icarus as a boy who fell not because of his
arrogance but because he
wanted to. because he had spent
his whole life holed up in the dark, so
what could make him feel
more alive than a single moment of blissful
pure that it has never been
shared by another man.
what could he long for more than apollo’s
tender kiss, for
his rays to shine bright upon his pale and
dull skin, for his flesh
to prickle at the freezing rush of
wind flying past him,
for the sweet and merciful burial found
in poseidon’s deep.
father, forgive him, but icarus
was in love.
boy grown in shadows and boy slain by sun.
sometimes you spend your whole
life wishing for
something and never even get
to taste it.
sometimes you die with dreams hollow and
the back of your heart.
icarus swallowed his dreams whole.
juice running sticky and
sweet down his bony fingers,
a boy so starved
that he ate the whole world. (his eyes were
always bigger than his stomach)
he sits at apollo’s feet now, sun-kissed and
happy and tired of
being painted as the fool.
he did what so few had the courage to do,
and devoted himself
entirely to that which he longed for.
icarus as the boy
who never learned how to
do things half-way.
the boy who was told to stay between the
sun and the sea and instead he touched
both. who was
told to stay afloat
so he drowned himself in the tides of
woke to apollo’s beaming face and warm hands, saying,
“i was trying to give you something better.”
and icarus cups the god’s face.
he is not
afraid because he does not know how to be.
apollo glows warm.
icarus traces his dark cheekbone,
says, “what could be better than this?”
and he speaks the truth,
for now he sits in apollo’s concert halls, has
heard a thousand
been the subject of millions of poems,
boy made of marble and boy carved into
stone. boy of sun and sea and sky.
icarus flew not
to run away but to run towards something
intangible, something he longed for.
father thank you
for the wings but your son is made of
icarus flew for
the whole time,
it was for love.
Age 17, Grade 12
Freedom High School
Bethlehem Area School District