Edward Field's "Icarus"This is a featured page

by Edward Field (b. 1924, poem 1950)

Only the feathers floating around the hat
Showed that anything more spectacular had occurred
Than the usual drowning. The police preferred to ignore
The confusing aspects of the case,
And the witnesses ran off to a gang war.
So the report filed and forgotten in the archives read simply
“Drowned,” but it was wrong: Icarus
Had swum away, coming at last to the city
Where he rented a house and tended the garden.

“That nice Mr. Hicks” the neighbors called,
Never dreaming that the gray, respectable suit
Concealed arms that had controlled huge wings
Nor that those sad, defeated eyes had once
Compelled the sun. And had he told them
They would have answered with a shocked,
uncomprehending stare.
No, he could not disturb their neat front yards;
Yet all his books insisted that this was a horrible mistake:
What was he doing aging in a suburb?
Can the genius of the hero fall
To the middling stature of the merely talented?

And nightly Icarus probes his wound
And daily in his workshop, curtains carefully drawn,
Constructs small wings and tries to fly
To the lighting fixture on the ceiling:
Fails every time and hates himself for trying.
He had thought himself a hero, had acted heroically,
And dreamt of his fall, the tragic fall of the hero;
But now rides commuter trains,

Serves on various committees,
And wishes he had drowned.

to Cite this work:
Field, Edward. "Icarus." 1950. Spring 2010 Writing Classes. Corbett Treece ed. Wetpaint. Web. [Your date of acces, Day Mon. Year. <cunydictspring2010.wikifoundry.com>

Questions for Thinking, Blogging, Discussion

How does the updating of the time period in which this story is told alter the story itself?
What is the overall tone of the poem?What does the tone of this poem imply about the time we live in?
Or, alternatively, what does it imply about the time in which the poem was written? About the atmosphere following WWII, anout the emotional charge?
How is our time (or this time) so clearly different from the mythic time of Icarus and Daedalus?
What literary devices does Field use? What figurative language does he use?
Analyze at least one of these devices and uses of figurative language. How are they used to adapt the Icarus myth to a contemporary setting?

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tmwilds Edward Fields Icarus 0 Jun 28 2010, 5:34 AM EDT by tmwilds
Thread started: Jun 28 2010, 5:34 AM EDT  Watch
In this updated version Edward Fields shows a sensitive side to the people during that time, making the story an adventure for Icaurs, as if it was all planned. People seem to care, someone called the police, and a report was made; although forgotten. Witnesses were acknowledged; although they took off to do what they thought was more important. Although the tone is somewhat the same, we still live in a time where people go about their business.
The clear difference is Icarus lives and gets to tell his story and the lesson remains the same. People still do not care. They move on with their lives maybe acknowledging “That nice Mr, Hicks”
Although the story is told, he wishes he would have drowned, because I think he learns that he is the only one keeping his story alive. It is in a sense history, only preserved in his book. Subconsciously he has forgotten and moved on with his life only sometimes remembering. He has changed his name, serves on various committees, rented a house and tends his garden. The story makes one question, how do you want to be remembered, for your current accomplishments or past tragedies.
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gabriel.fernandez Flying the world of words 0 Jun 28 2010, 2:43 AM EDT by gabriel.fernandez
Thread started: Jun 28 2010, 2:43 AM EDT  Watch
In this poem Icarus does not die. He “swum away” and mixes himself with the common people in the city. Field uses the figure of speech allusion. He makes reference to the mythic story of Icarus and Daedalus to enrich his poem. I think that this is an autobiography poem; he uses Icarus to convey his feeling after War World Two. He was a soldier of the air force. And during the War, he had an accident that almost cost him his life. When he came back home, as a veteran, he spent his time writing poetry and prose literature. As in the poem appears, “coming to the city where he rented a house and tended the garden.” The garden symbolizes his works. His neighbors might not have known about his life in the war, and they never would imagine that a common veteran was a prominent pilot, the neighbor called him, Mr. Hicks, “never dreaming that the gray, respectable suit concealed arms that had control huge wings.” As any pilot who loves to fly, Field would be sad or melancholic for not being able to do it as the old times. After the war his flights were not in planes, but in paper, flying the world of words. While he writes, memories of the war haunting him, but he does not share his thoughts with their neighbors, “he could not disturb their neat front yards.”
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ursexiiangel20 Jasmine Hardy.......Icarus 0 Jun 28 2010, 1:48 AM EDT by ursexiiangel20
Thread started: Jun 28 2010, 1:48 AM EDT  Watch
When i first began to read this poem i noticed the reference to the "feathers floating". In the fall of Icarus feathers were floating in and around the water when Icarus fell out of the sky. I dont understand the reference to the hat in the first stanza it kinda confuses me because i dont think Icarus would be wearing a hat before he would fall out of the sky. The poem seem like the writer is trying to hint at something else deeper than whats really going on. It seems like to me that in this poem Icarus is beeing portrayed as some type of mafia person. He was involved in many things that he wasn't suppose to be apart of thats why he met his demise. Edwars feilds story of Icarus is totally different from Audens view of the story of Icarus. I think that Audens view of the story is more relatable than Fields because of the simple fact that it makes a lil more sense to me. Both poems are related to one another because of the fact they are talking about Icarus but the story's are totally different, they come from two different angles and perspectives. The fact that the police ignored the case is some what similar to the fact that in Audens version of the story nobody really notices Icarus falling out tof the sky. Life went on even though Icarus drowned and deadlus lost his son in a very tragic manor. Tragedies only matter to the people that they affect or have something to do with. Other people go on and live their daily lives like nothing is wrong. The sun will continue to rise and set while joyess moments and tragedies will continue to go unoticed by other people because it doesnt directly affect them.
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