Thursday, December 24, 2009

'Twas the Flight Before Christmas

A Moss family tradition--reading this poem at Christmas time. My grandfather, a pilot, was particularly fond of this one...

'Twas the Flight Before Christmas

by Capt. R.C. Robson, December 1952

‘Twas the flight before Christmas and all through the sky,
Not a creature was stirring, ‘cept the Captain and I.
The throttles were set on the quadrant with care,
In hopes of beating St. Nicholas there.

The passengers were nestled all snug in their seats,
The purring of engines had lulled them to sleep.
And Captain at the wheel and I on his right,
Had just leveled off for a long winter’s flight.

When out of the sky there arose such a clatter,
We jumped in our seats to see what was the matter.
We checked each engine quick as a flash,
Glanced at the dials all over the dash.

The moonlight reflecting from the cloud bank below,
Showed nothing amiss in the cold white glow.
When what to our wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old pilot, so lively and quick,
We knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than our ship his courses they came,
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name.

"Now Pratt! now Whitney! Now Curtiss and Wright!
On Franklin! On Allison! On, on though the night!
"To the top of the clouds, to the top of them all,
Now, dash away, dash away, dash away all!"

And then in a twinkle on our wing we did here,
The prancing and pawing of each little dear.
Flying swift as the wind over a cloud,
They passed right by us, nodded and bowed.

He was dressed in goggles and helmet and boot,
And snow flakes were clinging to his flying suit.
A bundle of toys was strapped to his back,
He looked like a paratrooper in his jumping pack.

His goggles now frosted, his dimples now merry,
The wind burned his cheeks and his nose like a cherry.
He had on the earphones of his radio,
And he was flying the course straight as an arrow.

The smoke from his pipe his teeth held tight,
Streamed out behind him into the night.
He had tightened his seatbelt over his belly,
But it shook underneath like a bowl full of jelly.

He was sure a good flyer, that jolly old elf,
He flew better than the Captain – or even myself.
With a burst of speed from his tiny sled,
He was out in front and pulling ahead.

He was looking for a break in the dense overcast,
For he’d stockings to fill – al all night task.
When off to the south he saw a big hole,
And banked to his right and started to roll.

He pushed forward his stick, to his team gave a whistle,
And towards it they flew, like the down on a thistle.
But we heard him exclaim as he dove out of sight,
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good flight!


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