Ode to Orion (or Mechanic’s Lament)

Great metal Goddess, mined from deepest earth,
Forged in blazing flame, molded, beaten, formed at birth;
Measured, cut, and riveted, assembled frame by frame,
The beauty of this graceful beast, too marvelous to tame;
Glorious vision, Orion, strong upon Her legs,
Pins of solid steel, shining sliding shock absorbing pistons beg
Disbelief that such a being could be wrought by hand of man;
Her might and strength respond with glee to man’s command.

I press my cheek to Her cold, steel flesh,
Caress Her smooth metal frame with tenderness,
Fingers trace Her perfect
Lines, laid straight without defect;
Orion, mighty steed, spirited, strong, and sleek,
Restless life within, this warrior lives not meek;
Slumbering now, Her breath is soft and mild,
Forever on call, She dreams to lift and soar into the deep blue wild;

Daily I tend Her, mending aches and groans,
Salving straining joints, replacing creaking metal bones;
Taut flight controls maneuver, mechanic’s nimble fingers jig,
Wires, cables, pulleys, guides, all form the parts of Her rig;
Her wet wings beckon my attention, I crawl among Her ribs,
Stringers, spars, trusses, webs; hi-loks, rivets, nuts, and nibs;
My knuckles scratched and bleeding, from mending broken wing;
Each piece of Her a part of Me, my blood flows deep within Her Being.

Cut and snip, treat and sew, bind with swedges,
Bend and turn, and smooth the burrs along Her edges,
Stitch the fabric, turn the wrenches ’til Her rigging
Settles taut along Her voluptuous form, no giving.
Beta measures of Her props, point by point they turn,
Angles sweet and true, impetuous wind they spurn;
Signals flow, electrons, swimming among wire,
Her brain, awake, analyzing, burning with fire.

The fragrance of my Lovely, the spirit in Her roar,
The humming, in four parts, thrumming through my pores;
Her motion, like a gull, swooping and soaring upon the sky,
I can’t but help to wipe a tear from the corner of my eye.
Bathing such a beauty, soaping, scrubbing smooth steel skin,
Rinsing with cool fresh water, makes Her gleam and glow again;
The luster of Her shine, the beauty of Her paint,
The purity of Her lines, O, Heaven’s fairest airborne Saint.

Lubricating flexing spine, work that binds Her to my heart,
My brow is stained and wrinkled, repairing aches and weathered part;
On my knees do I beseech thee, Lord, in front of fairest mighty steed,
Guide true my hammer’s blows, my drill bite with precision, I plead.
I yearn for comfort in your womb, my iron Angel, to soar above the clouds,
To skim the peaking waves, to hear your heartbeat’s sounds;
To fly within Orion, never touching ground again;
Wrap me in your loving arms, as we patrol the endless ocean main.

Then one day I thought could never come, I saw looming beyond Her fibr’d stinging tail,
Beyond Her airframe sweet and smooth, indignities beyond the pale;
I knew this singing soaring bird would soon be bound forever to the earth
Of which She had been born, to live Her days in silence, without mirth.
Idled. Humbled. Dying. Her beauty will not fade, nor soul fly into dark;
Her spirit ever soars, heart in joyful shouts still sings, ignites the spark
And song of Her engines; vibrations of Her flight live on and on forevermore
In loving hearts of grateful honored men and women who made Her swoop and soar.

Beyond the reach of peaking waves, and hurricanes so terrible,
To shrieks and screams of mortal man, distressed and lost, in peril;
All-weather, all night, all day she sought for those no others could find;
Her roaring sound from cloudbanks, brought hope to those in bind.
Her echo from this day, though soon to sound the seas no more, in desert next to sleep,
Strikes fear into shadows still, that lurk in menace beneath the surface of the deep;
Orion, soon to stand on idle legs, mighty engines silent, shining pistons turn to rust:
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, the natural state within Earth’s crust.

8 thoughts on “Ode to Orion (or Mechanic’s Lament)

  1. Pingback: The Satisfied Life | Writers Envy

  2. Nickel Boy Graphics

    Will, I really enjoyed the imagery in this poem. The last two stanzas reminded me of a few visits last year about this time to the Air Power Park in nearby Hampton, Virginia. From the road, everything looks okay, but when you get out and look at the aircraft, there is a lot of rust and decay, signs that have fallen off and become unreadable. It’s actually quite sad, particularly when you think of all of the lives that were devoted to, perhaps saved by those aircraft. This poem helps to keep the memories of those silent hulking metal constructions alive.

    I hope that this can be published some day. A book of poems like this would be a real treasure to someone who served in the military, or the family members left behind by someone who had been in the military. It goes back, I think, to how military people seldom tell about what their lives are like, so it’s difficult for their loved ones to imagine. A book of poems or short stories like that would be very helpful, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Will Pennington

      Thank you, I really appreciate that. I lived in Chesapeake back in the 90s, and drove I-64 quite often, still do, but I never visited the Air Power Park. I will have to check it out.
      I’ve never felt good enough at writing poetry to try and put a book together. I may have to let my poetry writing mature a few more years before I do that. I also have to finish my novel! It’s almost complete 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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