Triplane Builder

Poems by Triplane Builder - William (Bill) Woodall

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Mr. Thomas

Tall and thin and arrow straight with a moustache on his lip,
His use of the English language involving a British clip.
Though well now in his eighties-- had landed a Cessna plane,
Took one look at my Sopwith "tripe"-- expressed to me disdain.

"It couldn't very good" were the words he chose to speak,
Had it not been for his obvious age-might have shot back with some pique!
He said that he had flown-- in the '14-'18 war.
48 Squadron "Brisfits'-- been his mounts of yore.

Confessed he'd never seen one--- of this type that I had made-
But he was from the RFC-(not the R.N.A.S."trade").
He gave to me his "personal card" that told me where he stayed-
Then departed in his Cessna--- 'ere the twilight hand was played.

I admit that I was thrilled- to've met a flier from that "war".
Had long been my objective, but never occurred before.
I phoned and joined him at his home-met his daughter there-
Came to know him as a friend -his thoughts and books to share.

Began to paint in his old age-his water colors so grand-
Succinct scenes of beauty-etched from his architect hand.
Told of his adventures--- (in both the wars he had known)-
'First war' bullets remained in his back-"second war" types that he'd flown.

Even rode behind him--- as a friend gave us a ride---
Herbert Thomas showed precision-flew that "Navion" in stride.
He came to know of this plane I make, and offered sage advice-
(Its rotary engine took him aback-didn't think of the type as "nice").

When came the time-- to try out my plane- so-called "maiden" flight-
Elected to leave him safely at home-should "this" not turn out right.
Don't think he ever forgave me-- for not actually seeing me land-
Watching the video others had made-not the same-- as watching first hand.

Took him to watch a "Camel" in flight-(his first since the first World War)-
Captivated by-standers there-- with first hand accounts and much more-
Was lucky for me to have made him a friend-- a man I could really admire-
His life then so full-- and his manner so nice-- a model of what should inspire!

He departed this life at age ninety two-- left a void I'm unable to fill-
His quiet wisdom--- memory sharp-would I could summon him here at my will.

Bill Woodall

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