The Little Aircraft

By Howard Nemerov

The little aircraft trudging through night, cloud, rain,
Is neither alone nor lost amid the great
Inverted ocean of the air, for a lane
Invisible gives it intelligence,
The crossing needles keep its heading right,
The neutrally numbering voices of its friends
Make of its blindness blind obedience,
From one to another handing its destiny on
The stages of the way with course and height
Till finally it's funneled in and down
Over the beacons along the narrowing beam,
Perfectly trusting a wisdom not its own,
That breaking out of cloud it may be come
Back to this world and be born again,
Into the valley of the flarepath, fallen home.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1979/05/the-little-aircraft/305177/