Category: Flight

LEFT BEHIND ON THE CONCORDE

LEFT BEHIND ON THE CONCORDE

You get to DC an hour and a half before you leave London
and Rod and I talked most of the way

Maybe it was the ‘69 Dom Perignon
they poured as soon as you took your seat
or the Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Pouilly-Fuisse
they served all through the meal

I do remember there were Arabs in
flowing white, and Burgess Meredith the movie star
and I showed the pretty brunette
my pilots license and got invited to the cockpit
where the pilots greeted me as brothers
even though the fastest thing I’d ever flown
was and Aero Commander 680E

Maybe it was the Taylor’s Special Reserve
twenty year old port they served with
the Cuban cigars (it was 1978 after all)

Maybe it was going more than twice the speed of sound
but I can’t remember a damn thing that either of us said.

A MOBIUS TRIP

A MOBIUS TRIP

Always an emigrant, never an immigrant
one foot in each country for thirty years
more running from than running to
more neither nor than either or

Always abandoning in some way
family, friends and dependable plans
and any constancy demands

Half desperate, always in search
for new ones who will give enough
and not demand too much

I keep my Canadian in Canada
and am careful when I pack

I stow my Texas twang at the border
and pick it up on the way back

Flying from Calgary to Toronto, Eda asks
“How come you’ve started to talk in a drawl?”

Just as the captain comes on the blower to say
“In order to avoid a big storm on our left
we are now flying over North Dakota”

Staircase – Faculty of Architecture at Warsaw University of Technology, Poland


The Möbius strip, also called the twisted cylinder, is a one-sided nonorientable surface obtained by cutting a closed band into a single strip, giving one of the two ends thus produced a half twist, and then reattaching the two ends.

WAKE TURBULENCE

WAKE TURBULENCE

Deep in the night the great horned owl
strokes silence with silence

If you land a small plane behind a 747
(Don’t land a small plane behind a 747)
If you land a small plane behind a 747
the invisible vortex from its wingtips
can toss you back into the air
or slap you hard into
the ground

Behind the great owl
the softness of its passing hangs in the air

CLIMBOUT SUNSETS

CLIMBOUT SUNSETS

John Gillespie Magee
slipped the surly bonds of earth
reached out and touched the face of God

Planes are bigger and faster now
I in my Aero Commander
commander of the air

Climbing at dusk have set the sun
on the lip of the world
and held it there

Have rode the Concorde
faster than the speed of sound
and faster than the earth goes round
that can lift it up where it went down

And there are times I’d best the lark
to try to hold or yet turn back
baby’s smiles and love’s first spark

I think Magee, the reverence would see
as we all fight the dying of the light
and try to touch the Sistine finger
a little longer before night

HIGH FLIGHT

HIGH FLIGHT
by John Gillespie Magee

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
and danced the skies on laughter silvered
wings; sunward I’ve climbed and joined
the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds – –
and done a hundred things you have not
dreamed of – wheeled and soared and
swung high in the sunlit silence.

Hov’ring there, I’ve chased the shouting
wind along, and flung my eager craft
through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the windswept height with
easy grace where never lark, or even
eagle flew.

And while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
the high untrespassed sanctity of space
put out my hand, and touched the face of
God

John Gillespie Magee Jr. , A young American, flew with the Royal Canadian Air Force in England early in WWII, and was killed shortly after he composed this poem.