I always say a prayer when about to be borne down a runway at high speed. Over the years I have refined the prayer to be less narcissistic, thus it has become a prayer of gratitude for the inventiveness, safety-consciousness and skill-set of maker, engineer and pilot; and a final prayer of gratitude for the life I have lived and the life I hope to continue living should all go well!
The opening lines of this poem popped up two weeks ago as the plane I was fastened to headed down the runway in Christchurch…

In a machine made from the earth
but presuming a place in the sky
we leave the ground that has birthed us

we breathe the same air
believing it is right to be here
putting our trust in the capacity

of pilot and engineer
as if it is an ordinary thing.
It may turn out to be nothing

a flight quickly forgotten
or, a flight forever
remembered by others.

Few of us know each other
few of us will meet again,
but if this is our last journey

we will be linked forever,
leaving our breaths as invisible prayers
for those who come after us.

martin stewart 2016


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