toast our hearty comrades who have fallen from the skies, and were gently caught by God's own hand to be with him on High.
To dwell among the soaring clouds they've known
so well before. From victory roll to tail chase, at heaven's very door.
As we fly among them there, we're sure to head their plea. To take
care my friend, watch your six, and do one more roll for me.
When this life
I'm in is done,
And at the gates I stand,
My hope is that I answer all
His questions on command.
I doubt He'll ask me of my fame,
Or all the things I knew, Instead,
ask of rainbows sent
On rainy days I flew.
The hours logged, the status reached,
The ratings will not matter.
ask me if I saw the rays
And how He made them scatter.
Or what about the droplets clear,
I spread across your screen?
did you see the twinkling eyes.
If student pilots keen?
The way your heart jumped in your chest,
That special solo day-
you take time to thank the one
Who fell along the way?
Remember how the runway lights
Looked one night long ago
you were lost and found your way,
And how-you still dont know?
How fast, how far, how much, how high?
He'll ask me not these things
did I take the time to watch
The Moonbeams wash my wings?
And did you see the patchwork fields
And moutains I did mould;
mirrored lakes and velvet hills,
Of these did I behold?
The wind he flung along my wings,
On final almost stalled.
did I know I it was His name,
That I so fearfully called?
And when the goals are reached at last,
When all the flyings done,
answer Him with no regret-
Indeed, I had some fun.
So when these things are asked of me,
And I can reach no higher,
prayer this day - His hand extends
To welcome home a Flyer.
by John Pudney
Do not despair
He sleeps as sound
As Johnny underground.
out no shroud
And keep your tears
For him in after years.
Better by far
keep your head,
And see his children fed.
Because I fly
laugh more than other men
I look up an see more than they,
I know how the clouds feel,
What it's like to have the
blue in my lap,
to look down on birds,
to feel freedom in a thing called the stick...
who but I can slice between God's billowed legs,
and feel then laugh
and crash with His step
Who else has seen the unclimbed peaks?
The rainbow's secret?
The real reason birds sing?
I envy no man on earth.
For a saving grace,
we didn't see our dead, Who rarely bothered coming
home to die
But simply stayed away out there
In the clean war,
the war in the air.
Seldom the ghosts came back bearing their tales Of hitting the earth,
incompressible sea, But stayed up there in the relative wind,
Shades fading in the mind,
Who had no graves but only epitaphs
Where never so many spoke for
never so few: 'Per ardua,' said the
partisans of Mars,
'Per aspera,' to the stars.
That was the good war, the war we won
As if there were no death,
for goodness' sake, With the help of the
losers we left out there In the air, in the empty air.
along the changing edge
Where, sky-pierced now the cloud had broken.
I saw no bird, no blade of wing,
I stood, my eyes turned upward still
And drank the air and breathed the light.
Then, like a hawk upon
I climbed the sky, I made the flight.
is freedom in its purest form,
To dance with the clouds which follow a storm;
To roll and glide, to wheel and spin,
To feel the
joy that swells within;
To leave the earth with its troubles and fly,
know the warmth of a clear spring sky;
Then back to earth at the end of a day,
the tensions which melted away.
Should my end come while I am in flight,
Whether brightest day or darkest night;
Spare me your pity and shrug off the pain,
Secure in the knowledge
that I'd do it again;
For each of us is created to die,
And within me I know,
born to fly.
Someday we will
know, where the pilots go
When their work on earth is through.
Where the air is clean, and the engines gleam,
the skies are always blue.
They have flown alone, with the engine's moan,
As they sweat the great beyond,
take delight, at the awesome sight
of the world spread far and yon.
Yet not alone, for above the moan, when the earth is
out of sight,
they make their stand, He takes their hand,
and guides them through the night.
How near to God are these men of sod,
step near death's last door?
Oh, these men are real, not made of steel,
But He knows who goes before,
And how they live, and love and are beloved,
But their love is most
And with death about, they will still fly out,
And leave their troubles there.
He knows these things, of
men with wings,
And He knows they are surely true.
And He will give a hand, to such a man
'Cause He's a pilot too.
have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds...and done a hundred things
have not dreamed of...wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space
Put out my hand, and touched
the face of God