Daedalus and Icarus:
from The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Literature, Second Edition 1977
The Fall of Icarus:
The Fall of Icarus by Peter Paul Rubens, 1636. Musée Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels. Image uncredited at wikipaintings.org
Icarus and Amelia Earhart:
…She was swallowed by the sky / Or by the sea, like me she had a dream to fly / Like Icarus ascending / On beautiful foolish arms…
from Amelia by Joni Mitchell. Video from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bFgxKov8Ts&feature=kp
Amelia Earhart and the Lockheed Model 10 Electra, the aircraft in which she disappeared over the Central Pacific in 1937
Image at http://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/earhart.newdocs/earhart.electra.jpeg on Wikimedia Commons
Lepidoptera means ‘scaly-winged’ in Greek. It is the large order of insects that includes moths and butterflies.
Atlas moth: an illustration from Natural History Drawings: The Complete William Farquhar Collection, Malay Peninsula 1803-1818 (Editions Didier Millet & National Museum of Singapore, 2010)
Small Moth by Sarah Lindsay
She’s slicing ripe white peaches
into the Tony the Tiger bowl
and dropping slivers for the dog
poised vibrating by her foot to stop their fall
when she spots it, camouflaged,
a glimmer and then full on—
happiness, plashing blunt soft wings
inside her as if it wants
to escape again.
Chiroptera means ‘hand-winged’ in Greek. It is the order of mammals that includes bats.
Lesser false-vampire bat, Singapore
Image uncredited at http://www.wildsingapore.per.sg
What is it like to be a bat?
…Our own experience provides the basic material for our imagination, whose range is therefore limited. It will not help to try to imagine that one has webbing on one’s arms, which enables one to fly around at dusk and dawn catching insects in one’s mouth; that one has very poor vision, and perceives the surrounding world by a system of reflected high-frequency sound signals…In so far as I can imagine this (which is not very far), it tells me only what it would be like for me to behave as a bat behaves. But that is not the question. I want to know what it is like for a bat to be a bat. Yet if I try to imagine this, I am restricted to the resources of my own mind, and those resources are inadequate to the task…
Thomas Nagel, in The Philosophical Review, October 1974
Poetry with a sting in the tale:
‘This book is a kind of uncut home-movie of bees. I like its oddness and hurriedness, its way of catching the world exactly as it happens in the split second before it sets into poetry…’
Alice Oswald reviewing Bee Journal