17 December 1903
Robert B. Smith
Along an open stretch of sandy shore
two brothers breathed the dream of human flight.
With canvas-covered frame they stood before
the wind which lifted time and human sight
in views unseen by an earth-bound race.
What fears were theirs who gravity defied
whether stretched on wing or standing in place?
The toss of a coin determined the ride,
but both held forth that day to trust unknown.
They saw the work of hand and mind revealed
when engine sang and wings lifted over foam
in birdless flight with human fears concealed.
Earth flew on frail wing that December day
when sky became a place for human play.
The poem was written in 2000 as a challenge from my stepson who had been given an assignment to write a poem in classical style. We live in Fairborn, Ohio, near Huffman Prairie -- where the Wright brothers perfected the flyer. So I suggested the theme of flight. We each composed at the dining room table, and this was my offering. The structure of the poem is not representative of my usual style.