Friday, April 11, 2008

writers island - flight

in the unlikely event of an emergency...
Every seat is taken. Two, maybe three hundred people sit shoulder to shoulder in the cramped cabin. Each safely buckled into their tiny space.

The crew impassively perform the emergency procedure ritual, arms flying hither and thither like so many human windmills.

Half way up the plane a group of businessmen sit reading, ignoring, nonchalant. They’ve seen it so many times before. Two nuns listen attentively whilst fiddling frantically with their Rosary beads. A small child struggles and shrieks as it attempts to make a break for freedom.

A couple, clearly in love, are oblivious to the stewardess’s warnings of dire emergencies that might occur, and gaze lovingly into each other’s starry eyes. An elderly man fiddles with his hearing aid whilst shouting to his embarrassed wife that ‘the girl is mumbling’

She points to the exits, her arms shoot forward and then stretch out to her sides. A group of young men, already in the party spirit call out in unison ‘I must, I must improve my bust’

She finishes yet another demonstration sure in the knowledge that her words went largely unheeded. She packs away her kit and takes her seat for yet another takeoff.
Some continue reading, others scrabble about under their seats to reassure themselves that they do in fact have a safety jacket. The nuns stare straight ahead and the small child gives up its struggle. The old chaps hearing aid whistles loudly and the lads start shouting for drinks. The loving couple have moved not an inch.
poem12 - takeoff

Two mighty engines roar
I am pressed against my seat
as the giant silver bird
thunders down the runway

A sudden quiet, calm
as we rise into the sky
leaving my stomach
on the ground below

We steeply bank, and the plane
stands on its wingtip.
I stare down at a monopoly
of tiny streets below

Then level flight
higher and higher
Wisps of clouds
rush by my window

And then an eerie silence
as fifty shafts
of brilliant sunlight
illuminate the cabin

Now we float
above a sea
of undulating
purest white

Then I have a gin and tonic!


  1. I like the post before hand of how the passengers and flight attendants are all coping with each other and what is happening on the inside of the cabin.

    Your poem is another goody sir. I am sure the gin and tonic will make for a much smoother flight. Cheers!

  2. Pre-flight checks can sure vary :-)

  3. My mother was on a flight once where the attendant actually said funny things like, "And of course, you can use the seat cushion as a flotation device, but you'll probably get eaten by sharks before anyone comes to rescue you." By the end of the spiel she had the attention of the entire plane.

  4. ya...most people dont bother to listen to the attendants ramblings..after u hear it so many times, u stop bothering....well there r times i hav wondered wat would i do in case there was an emergency...nice post

  5. So true ! Most people are so blase about the emergency drill .

    And the poem ..very refreshing ..especially the end ;) !

  6. Ah! Gin, Ah! Tonic- on this flight, every thing ticks! liked the post!

  7. Keith, where are you off to on your travels mate? *clink* gin and lemonade for me. I loved this offering.

  8. Keith, where are you off to on your travels mate? *clink* gin and lemonade for me. I loved this offering.

  9. I like the grounding the gin and tonic gives this poem! The beginning is so like our dreams taking flight and then...bam...back to reality! Very cool!

  10. Hi Keith, like the story and the poem. A G+T? sounds like a nice flight to me..

  11. You capture the feelings above the ground, and waiting for takeoff nicely!

  12. I believe the gin is needed before the flight attendant begins her speel - makes the take off much smoother! I hope you will stop by Slice of Life Sunday to see if one of my prompts inspire you. I would love to have you as a contributing writer.

  13. I like the calmness you depict in your last line.. after the initial upheaval having gin and tonic.

  14. Wow a double treat ... thanks Keith ... I enjoyed both very much!

  15. Great poem. I felt like I was in the plane. Thankfully I didn't get my usual green face and airsickness though.

  16. Keith,

    I have to admit that after reading some tragic endings from stories I've read lately I'm a bit cautious with my expectations for good endings. I fear being caught off guard to pitfalls of sad endings(yet again) ~ so I guarded myself of any signs of disaster that may arise in the story as I read this. It's a great relief then that you ended this piece with a lighter note, a promise of a festive mood, a unique feeling of high literally in flying.

    And then I went back and read it again from the top and took notice of the details you put into this, I enjoyed the diversity in people you illustrated in this post within the confines of the cabin and found myself among them in the flight.

    Thank you for being a good pilot of this story taking us to different highs in reading. I would love to ride more of your flights in writing for I know that you keep your passengers safe.

    I wish you well.

    ~ Jeques

  17. Quite enjoyable - I haven't flown in years, but this took me back the the old flying days, even if I never had a gin and tonic.

    It was always ginger ale for me! :)

  18. Enjoyed your post! I'm thinking one can almost fly from the ground with enough gin and tonic. But I could be wrong.

  19. well until now im not comfortable in flying hehe. this post especially the poem captured the activities inside the plane. oh, the attendants and the passengers... :-)

  20. Keith,
    You sure nailed it on the head. Watching the habits of different folks in such a confined space can be entertaining as well as confining. You have obviously been quite observant.

  21. I felt like I was sitting right there on the plane with you, even down to the anxiety upon take-off. The G&T is always very welcome after that!

  22. i am so glad to catch up, i missed plenty...this was superb

  23. as i read this i felt entirely calm during the whole process. i am usuallyvery tense when i fly and nothing seems calm to me as the plane takes off and goes upward. you made it seem dreamlike! (i always have a glass of wine once i'm up)...but i have one before i get on the plane as well!



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