HIAWATHA GOES HAND-GLIDING
by Peter Kendall Hiawatha mighty flier He could take a flimsy glider Strap it to his muscled body Leap from off a hill-top bravely Clutching grimly, heading downwards Moving at a steady plummet Watching ground come up to meet him Landing upright if he's lucky. When the hill is somewhat higher He is airborne even longer. Now it is that I must tell you What befell our Hiawatha How a flight became disaster Why it is he's out of action Lying in some distant 'hostel' Chatting up the local nurses Dreading wrath from his employer Waiting till his leg is better. You would find it hard to credit Anyone could be so reckless. Hiawatha, on vacation Took his glider out of storage Glued the fabric full of patches Tightened nuts and greased the nipples Checking that the struts and wires were Safe for fancy flying, and was Strong enough to take the force of Unexpected terminations. I'm inclined to think he should have Made the same checks to his person. Then, when everything was ready He listened carefully to the forecast Found the weather very doubtful Found the winds were slack or fitful Found them to be full of raindrops Or blowing in the wrong direction It was as if a curse had fallen On the whole of Central England What it is to have a hobby Dependent on the English climate. Hiawatha, nothing daunted Searched amongst his maps and papers Sought to find another hillside Where the winds were blowing nicely Upwards with sufficient force to Stop him coming down too quickly Then he could persuade his colleagues He was landing where he meant to. In gliding this is never easy Which is where the skill arises. Eventually, Hiawatha Found a spot just outside Portsmouth Furthest and most inconvenient For any rescue operations With him went his trusty woman Minihaha, laughing water, Not without some grumbling mind you He pretended not to notice. He must have had a premonition To have taken Minihaha. Arriving at the chosen hill-top Hiawatha, quickly ready Launched himself with reckless courage Promised dazzling aeronautics Promised swooping, soaring, turning Promised to be back by tea-time Enviously she stood and watched him Fly it straight into the hill-side. Clearly this was a manoeuvre Not hitherto referred to. This was Minihaha's moment Sprang the woman to the rescue Sprang she down to help her husband Through the wind and rain and cow-pats Through the gorse and through the heather Legs out flung but knees together Sometimes slowing, never stopping Until she reached the point of impact. There he lay with one leg broken More concerned about his glider. Undismayed was Minihaha Disentangling Hiawatha From the bulky glider harness Helpers sent in all directions Shooing off the stupid heifers Stowing glider on to car-roof Getting patient on to stretcher. Minihaha hadn't known hang Gliding could be so exhausting. So now resides our Hiawatha At the best 'Hotel' for patients Mollycoddled, metal-plated Contemplating his misfortune Planning how he'll tell the story Dreaming of stupendous thermals Waiting for the day he's mended Perhaps to buy another glider In the meantime friends and family Seek, for him, a safer hobby.
The end