For as long as I can remember,
I have wanted to fly.
Just a wee lad, I would run down the hill
With the wind at my back,
All the while, pretending I had wings.
Sometimes I gave my mom an awful fright
By climbing atop the porch rail
And stretching wide my arms
To jump down and roll on the ground.
Trying to figure out how they stayed aloft,
I spent hours watching birds, large and small,
Wing across the sky.
I carefully observed their take-offs and landings.
I even studied the flight of the kite
At the end of the string, wrapped round my hand.
Hopeful one day I’d be able to build a flying machine,
I started, as a young schoolboy, to fold papers,
Which I’d sail across the classroom—
Not an endearing exercise,
According to my teachers.
An ambitious teenager,
I worked with light woods and glue
To construct a contraption
That would travel airborne for short distances.
My young-man self became obsessed
With the idea of inventing an aircraft
That could carry passengers
And fly through the sky like the birds.
I studied physics and air currents and design
To try to come up with a prototype.
Time after time, I worked on my project,
Only to meet failure at each turn.
Finally, deciding it was an impossibility
To build a flying machine,
I gave up.
Then right away,
I heard about a couple of fellows, brothers from Ohio,
Who had been at Kitty Hawk,
Working on that same thing for years.
They built a plane that actually flew.
It should have been me.
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