A New Idea

Copyright © 2010 Michael J Emerson

This work is registered with the UK Copyright Service.


Richard Branson should have been there.

A new idea was waiting in the wind.

We boys, short and capped, trooped out

to see a flyer, forced to land on the common.

The machine, all match sticks, canvas, glue,

the most unlikely bird that ever flew,

perched, featherless and fragile, on the grass,

creaking like an old tree in the wind.

The flyer, with a gin and tonic smile,

leaned calmly on a wing, smoked a fag,

as if his aeronautic derring do

was a gentle, relaxing, game of golf.

There followed an hour of spanner, wrench,

feeler gauge strokes, screwdriver probes,

then, with a flick of an oil stained wrist,

the greasy engine span into life

We boys stood sniggering because we knew

this dodo would never get back off the ground,

but as we squirmed, played in our pockets,

the pilot revved up his challenge to the sky.

The air became a flock of flying caps.

I was ignited and felt the world turning

while a stampede of vertigo stricken boys

trampled the suddenly old fashioned ground.

The flyer escaped quickly to the air,

heroic engine humming like a bee,

cutting the once unrivalled sky to size,

bestowing portions of a new frontier.

Richard Branson could not be there.

He’s precisely satelliting the jet stream,

a billion dollar handshake in a tube,

a glimmer painting vapour trails in the sky

and I, a micrometer kid with a slide rule dad,

temporarily riveted to the ground,

found a new idea waiting in the wind

and cared not for the fate of my cap.