Why I’ve never been to USA
Sorry, everyone. I can’t see very well these days and am awaiting treatment to one eye after which hopefully I shall tick the right places. Didn’t mean to put it in non-fiction.
I don’t mind sailing and I don’t mind flying
but ocean liners are a prison at sea
and great steel planes anathema to me.
Again and again my brother explained
the aerodynamics of why they fly,
and fly I did, but expecting to die.
So at Plymouth airport on a rainy day,
while flights were off till the rain should stop,
I drank a coffee in the scout hut café,
trying to think of France but not flight
and keep the image of airliners at bay.
And then came the pilot in blue and braid,
called two names and one was mine.
We followed out to the grassy field
more suited to cricket for the local team
than dicing with death in a flying machine.
So I thought of France and walked along
dreading a journey of two hours long
in that nasty inevitable tube of steel.
Then there on the grass for all the world
like the pictures we saved on cigartette cards
stood a tiny plane with its wings unfurled.
“Are we really flying to France in that?”
I squawked as I walked in a flood of relief.
The pilot, clutching the wing for support,
rallied enough to make a reply.
His sides were heaving and his eyes were moist,
“Been asked that question many a time
but never in quite that tone of voice.”