Wings by Anne Ryan

I wrote this poem after my son died in 2010. He was born prematurely in 2005 and diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy when he was one. I could go on and on about the struggles he went through and the pain I and my other children have gone through since his death, but I think this poem says everything.


His eyes were as bright as a starry night,
and as big as the deep blue sea.
But when his family brought him home,
he wasn’t like you and me.

He’d try to do the things we did,
and found he never could.
And soon began to realize,
he probably never would.

“Why can’t I run? Why can’t I jump?
Why can’t I fly a kite?”
His arms would shake his legs would twist,
he’d try with all his might.

Tears would drip from his bright eyes
as he looked up at the clouds,
wishing he could fly away
high above the crowds.

His mom would cry for her sweet boy
almost every day.
She wished he was like other kids
in every single way.

So that the boys would play with him
instead of point and stare,
at her awesome little son
in his bright blue wheel chair.

But she couldn’t change how people were,
or change the way they thought.
Children sometimes can be so cruel,
because that’s what they’re taught.

So one day she built a swing
that reached up to the sky,
and when she pushed her son in it
he thought that he could fly.

For once he felt alive and free…
he never thought he would.
This was the thing that he could do
just like the others could.

With the wind in his hair and the sun on his face
he flew up to the moon,
and then one day he sprouted wings
and flew away too soon.

His mother stood with the empty swing,
looked up at the sky,
and there among the falling leaves
she told her son goodbye.

A voice whispered inside her ear
like the tinkling of a bell.
“I had to leave you on this day
so my story you could tell”

“I came here for different things.
The things we cannot see,
the things we hold inside
our hearts that truly set us free.”

“I came to teach you how to love,
and how you can be strong.
How to have the courage
when you think you can’t go on.”

“It doesn’t matter who you are
or the things that you can do,
all that matters in this world
is simply being you.”

She wiped her eyes and pushed the swing
once more up to the sky.
You don’t have to run,or be a bird,
to spread your wings and fly.

Submitted by Anne Ryan

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