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First Things First

by John M. White |

I am traveling today, so I thought you might enjoy a poem called "First Things First". Enjoy!

 

The boundary lamps were yellow blurs Against the winter night And I had checked the last ship in And snapped the office light, And paused a while to let the ghosts Of bygone days and men Roam down the skies of auld lang syne As one will now and then ... When fancy set me company A red checked lad to stand With questions gleaming in his eyes, A model in his hand. He may have been your boy or mine, I could not clearly see, But there was no mistaking how His eyes were questing me For answers which all sons must have Who builds their toys in play But pow'r them in valiant dreams And fly them far away; So down I sat with him beside There in the dim lit shed And with the ghost of better men To check on me, I said: "I cannot tell you, sonny boy, The future of this art, But one thing I can show you, lad, An old time pilot's heart; And you may judge what flight may give Or hold in store for you By knowing how true pilots feel About the work they do; And only he who dedicates His life to some ideal Becomes as one with he dreams His future will reveal Not one of whose wings are dust Would call his bargain in, Not one of us would welsh his part To save his bloomin' skin, Not one would wish to walk again Unless allowed to throw His heart into the thing he loved And go as he would go: Not one would change for gold or pow'r Nor fun nor love nor fame The part he played and price he paid In making the good game. And of the living ... none, not one Regrets the scars he bears, The sheer uncertainty of plans, The poverty he shares, Remitted price for one mistake That checks a bright career, The shattered hopes, the scant rewards, The future never clear: And of the living ... none, not one Who truly loves the sky Would trade a hundred earth bound hours For one that he could fly. If that sleek model in your hand Which you have brought to me Most represents the thing you love, The thing you want to be, Then you will fill your curly head With knowledge, fact and lore, For there is no short cut which leads To aviation's door; And only those whose zeal is proved By patient toil and will Shall ever have a part to play Or have a place to fill." And suddenly the lad was gone On wings I could not hear, But from afar off came his voice In studied tones and clear, A prophet's message simply told For this is what he said And why his hand will someday lead Formations overhead, "Who wants to fly has got to know: Now two times two is four: I've got to learn the first things first! .. I closed the hangar door." — Gill Robb Wilson. Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 ps: Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter "All Things Aviation" here!

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