falcon alulae

There are some words that seduce the poet through ululation. Ululation is one such. Then there are uvula, Pavuvu, Honolulu–and alula.

An alula, also known as a spurious or bastard wing, is a substructure of the bird’s wing that when flexed changes the airfoil of the wings, raising the pressure differential of upside and underside airflow, which helps prevent the bird from stalling. My first encounter with this word was as a teenager reading Robert A. Heinlein’s “The Menace from Earth.” His protagonist, one Holly Jones, resident of the Moon, liked to fly using her top-of-the-line Storer-Gulls. Controls encircling her thumbs allowed her to flex her alulae.

When the happy mashup of Honolulu and a peregrine falcon showed up on my radar, I could not but celebrate with this page, which is really a celebration of the word alula and its plural alulae.


falcon alulae

flight is pull & swoop & hula
atmosphere the crafter’s tool
lift her over honolulu
climb with her into the cool
oft aloft: the sky’s bathsheba
never stall–“thumbs” up, meine liebe

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