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Skysonnet
copyright 2010 by H. Paul Shuch, all rights reserved

When first I ventured high above the clouds
On wings of fabric o'er a wooden frame,
I thought the whistling wind and engine sound
Distracting, and my pounding heart the same.
The effort of controlled and powered flight,
Propeller ever flailing at the air,
Suggest that soaring skyward is not right.
Man has, in fact, no call to venture there.

A decade and a thousand flights had passed
Since my first vain attempt to tame the sky
Before I could gain mastery at last
And confidence, though talent is not why.
The engine's throaty roar reminding still
That this is not a habitat for man,
But wilderness explored by strength of will,
Submitting to a firm and steady hand.

And now, with half a century behind
My efforts to be master of the air,
I realize that I may never find
An answer to the secrets hidden there.
For it is not some skill with a machine
That ever will define a pilot's role,
But sounds unheard, and sights yet to be seen,
Sensations that will touch the very soul.

Too soon, when I have logged my final flight
And nothing but fond memories remain,
I'll cling to every sound and smell and sight
Regretting they are not to be again.
Yet, mindful of the life I've lived aloft,
I'll all the more appreciate the worth
Of velvet skies and clouds so very soft,
Forever grateful for my time on Earth.

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