Take Back the Skies      


A campaign for Americans to
regain their birthright to fly

Nite-Flite

(Not to be confused with "Night Flight" by Antoine de St. Exupery, this poem was written on March 9, 1976, more than twenty years before I learned how to fly, or had even been up in a small plane at night.)


Stately firs are starkly shadowed on the patchy bleak quilt
    of frozen fields below.
A three-quarters moon shares the solitude of the heavens
   with the night,
While the crisp air carries me gently on my course in peace.
The droning engine is a plateau from which my spirit soars
   to the exultant heights of my mind.

Impatient cabs and briefcases stuffed with lives...
   those are another time.
The whispering lights below don't bark directions.
They speak of other souls, resting for another day.
Because my solitude will not be shared tonight.

The vibrations lull the body as I fly, half-searching for
   eternity.
The transient spirit bespeaks the deity of the clouds.
The earth below is built of so many barriers to freedom.
Life above is so clear and beyond innuendos and myopia.
I hold the world in my hands and know her problems can
   be solved.
Stop the ploys.
End the pretense.
We all know what to do.
Let us forget our past differences and reach out toward
   our common goals.

There's a gentle tug on the wheel a whisper of an air
   pocket,
Somewhere to slip away my earthly thoughts.
The night is merely a hurdle to the next day, for some...
   those who sleep away its profit.
But the nocturnal eye can peer past the blemishes we should never see,
Searching with quiet fervor for answers for which there are no questions.

Green says haven...white says alert.
The tower beacon...and my dreams prepare to vanish as at
   dawn.
Soon the amber runway lines become single lights, each
   ordering my course.
The radio too scratches a message from the Earth.
Return, it says, you are one of us.

The lights hurry to envelope me, as the kiss from the tarmac
   reaches for my body and my freedom is snatched away.
This world is louder, tremorous, and cold.
My mind slows in a cobalt haze to cope with automatic
    functions,
As I ease down the taxiway to responsibility.
Late diners and tired waiters stare out through glass walls
   at the familiar mystique.
I can see the curiosity in their eyes, and I withdraw further
   inside myself form their suspicions.

The air is cold, the pavement heavy, but as I regain a determined step under their watchfulness, I soar again.
Yes.
I did escape.
And I will be free again.

 



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Tony Seton


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