Martin Parker: In-Flight Entertainment

Had the Wright Brothers somehow once happened to be
near what would become the Icarian Sea
they’d have laughed like hyenas on speed at the latent
design flaws and faults in the Icarus Patent,
and shamelessly chortled with joy unabashed
when the ludicrous prototype broke up and crashed.

For the Wrights would have known as it took off full pelt
that wax in hot sunlight would rapidly melt
and adequate lift could not long be maintained
without its man-motor becoming too strained
to keep up the distance, momentum and height
for qualification as Man’s First Powered Flight.

Though manners demanded they stood to applaud
as their rival's invention initially soared,
they'd have worried for only a moment or two
till the beeswax proved useless as aeroplane glue;
then sighed with a “Told-you-so” smile on their lips
as young Icarus dive-bombed and cashed in his chips.