Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Albert Huffstickler: "Don't Ask the Angels How They Fly"

Knowing there's only so much time,
I don't rejoice less but more.
Knowing how many things will now
not happen, I wish them Godspeed
and pass them on to someone
down the line. I honor my
regrets, the part of me that
never happened or happened wrong
and proceed on course though
the course is not known. Only
the end is known and some days
it's a comfort. We live on
love, whether it's there or
not and rejoice in it even in
its absence. If I had known,
I'd have come here better equipped—
but that's another one of those
things you can't change—as we
can't alter that part of us
that lives on memory, knowing
all the while that time is not
real and that what we are we
never were in the light of that
timeless place where we really
belong, have belonged always.
And what's left then is only
to bless it all in the light of
what we don't and will never
know or at least not here where
the light is only a shadow of
that light we almost see sometimes—
that light that's really home.

                 On my 69th birthday—Dec. 17, 1996

"Don't Ask the Angels How They Fly" by Albert Huffstickler. Text as published in di.verse.ity: an austin international poetry festival anthology, edited by Scott Wiggerman and Margaret Ward-Barrett (Austin Poets International, Inc., 1997). This anthology is downloadable.

Many thanks to subscriber Jazz Jaeschke for locating the source of this poem.

Art credit: Untitled image from a beautiful set of black and white photographs by Hengki Lee. See the entire gallery at this link.


  1. how lovely, and on my almost 73rd birthday, some of my own feelings you have expressed in such a glorious way - sometimes words, in the right sequence, are just overwhelmingly beauutiful

    1. Happy Birthday! And I'm glad that Huffstickler's poem resonates with you.

  2. Huffstickler, a librarian at the University of Texas, Austin, was a mainstay in the underground press.

  3. My great grandmother was Mary Elizabeth Huffstickler of Belzoni, Ms. Hmm, wonder if Albert was related to her.

  4. Thanks for the Albert.


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