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Takeoff
by
Richard Allen Taylor


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From my window seat on the starboard side
I see three aircraft ahead where the taxiway
curves like a shepherd's crook to the takeoff point.
My new beginning twists all the preparation
and waiting into a coil of anticipation,
pressed down like a jack-in-the-box,
eager to let go at the next turn of the crank.  
 
I try not to show the boyish wonder I still feel
about flying, the weight of many elephants
lifted so easily from the Earth. Not that it's a mystery.
The laws of physics tell us, get air moving fast enough
over a well-shaped wing, it has to rise. Funny,
most of my youth I thought planes flew because
of the air pushing up from underneath, like in the song
Wind Beneath My Wings. Only the truth
is wind tunnels and those artist's renderings
of air flow I saw in class--smoky curlicues
over the top of the wing, pulling up on the aircraft
like a vacuum cleaner grabbing a paper plate. 
 
Taken for granted, like the fact of eyes opening
in the morning, of breath still coming in, going out,
the wheels lift, the airplane blooms into flight,
predictable, miraculous.
 
 
From Something to Read on the Plane (Main Street Rag, 2004).
Used here with the author’s permission.
 
 
 
 
Purchase a framed print of this poem.

Richard Allen Taylor lives and works in Charlotte, North Carolina, as a Regional Human Resources Manager for a retail automotive dealership group. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Taylor, having no idea he might someday want to be a poet, passed up an opportunity to double major in psychology and English because he did not care to enroll in the two semesters of poetry required for the English degree. After dabbling in poetry in his late 20s and early 30s, he abandoned poetry completely until, encouraged by friends, he picked up the pen again in his 50s. His first poems were published in 2002. Since then, his poetry has appeared in many literary journals and anthologies and he has two books to his credit.

 


New comments are closed for now.
Nancy Simpson:
...an inviting poem. I want to go flying.
Posted 04/21/2013 09:40 PM
Nancy Simpson:
...an inviting poem. I want to go flying.
Posted 04/21/2013 09:40 PM
barbara eknoian:
Your explanation about physics makes me feel better about flying. I, too, worry about too much luggage on board.
Posted 04/21/2013 04:30 PM
MaryLeeHahn:
The magic is SO much more fun than the science! (Great illustration, Jayne!)
Posted 04/21/2013 02:25 PM
Buckner14:
I'd always thought of flight as wondrous (as you say in the opening lines of the 2nd stanza_, but never as beautiful until now. Thank you for opening this new perspective.
Posted 04/21/2013 01:50 PM
fer:
So there are other people who feel as I do about flight.... So glad he decided to pick up his poetry pen again in his 50s!
Posted 04/21/2013 09:57 AM
KevinArnold:
Oh yes a poets guide to the mysteries of aerodynamics. Thank you.
Posted 04/21/2013 09:55 AM
TheSilverOne:
As someone who has a childlike amazement over the fact that a machine can fly, I loved this poem.
Posted 04/21/2013 08:02 AM
tannerlynne:
wonderful poem...and yes...full of physics and poetry..."Taken for granted, like the fact of eyes opening in the morning,..."
Posted 04/21/2013 07:47 AM
rksanders@charter.net:
I love the way physics and poetry come together to show the "predictable, miraculous."
Posted 04/21/2013 07:40 AM
Janet Leahy:
I'm still in awe at the point of lifting into the air, I sometimes wonder if we have too many elephants with their trunks of luggage on board.
Posted 04/21/2013 07:24 AM
paradea:
It's great when you actually feel what the poet felt. I love "coil of anticipation...eager to let go! Wonderful poem.
Posted 04/21/2013 07:17 AM
phebe.davidson@gmail.com:
What wonderful lift this one has! "The weight of so many elephants . . ." and then that breathtaking last stanza. Bravo!
Posted 04/21/2013 06:50 AM


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