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Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Precious Life

we land softly
onto a safe runway
my passengers
should be vacationers
but this Mercy Flight
will save famine victims

doors open to fresh air
a tiny child looks at me
then points to a stilled figure

I raise her body
onto my chest
as light as a rag doll
and hold in tears
of sincere apology

our efforts failed
too late the takeoff
too long a flight

attendants approach
to finalize her journey
I recoil back and wail
“not yet”

the Grim Reaper
proved a little too eager
for this precious life



This poem came out of Ed Woods membership in an Aviation Museum and a story told by a Boeing 747 pilot who was involved in an airlift of famine victims from an African country.

International aid had been given but was not distributed in a timely manner, leaving the vulnerable in a desperate position.

Airlifts to air force bases in Europe were arranged as quickly as possible.  A Boeing 747 has 400 seats, but due to the starvation of these people, five children could fit into one single seat.  One aircraft had approximately 1400 people on board desperately trying to take them for medical attention.

This poem reflects one such flight. 

1 comment:

  1. With this poem Ed, you value life and remember people who works in humanitarian mission worthy of praise.