Please Sign In | Register
Google pluspinterestShare on Stumble UponShare on RedditFacebookShare on Tumblr
TITLE
'Folding the Sheets'
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_DAVID_KNOWLES_01
DATE OF RECORDING
2009
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
David Knowles
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
40976
KEYWORDS
poems
audio
literary landscapes

Get Adobe Flash player

'This is a poem from my collection, 'Meeting the Jet Man', a book of poetry and writing which looks at the world from the inside of a cockpit of a Tornado - my workplace for nearly twenty years. This particular poem looks at the way altitude and speed alter perceptions of the landscape.

Folding the Sheets

Nobody thinks it strange
if the high-altitude world
shrivels to a stillness;
the hours pass in slideshow,
carousel clicking while we blink.
Pass Lewis an unknown angry sea
there Iceland Nova Scotia Maine.
How would anything be strange
when it's fifty below
on the skin of this bubble;
we only barely inside
strapped tight in a warm hum,
nibbling biscuits between oxygen.

Fly lower, waking the nap of the earth -
now everyone has their notion of propriety.
How can you possibly see ...
- the lone climber on a snow-capped Ben -
is he waving? whether he is angry
or has failed almost to be angry
at our panel-beating of his landscape,
trading his peace for this spectacle
of steps cut into air?

Still lower, faster and faster
until abruptly the little gearbox seizes
the relevance of motion ceases
contingent as it was
on density altitude and entropy,
those dreams the night before,
the angle of the sun.

The wide field of view now all one place.
We hold the corners of the sheet and fold.'


David Knowles has recently retired from a 26-year career in the RAF as a Tornado bomber pilot. He is director of the independent publishing company, Two Ravens Press.

David read philosophy and physics at Oxford before applying for officer training with the RAF. By the 1990s he was patrolling the southern no-fly zones around Kuwait. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for a mission on the first night of the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, when, short of fuel and heavily laden with bombs, he came under enemy fire but completed the mission before landing on a small desert airstrip. He made the decision to retire in the post-Iraq period.

David has been writing poetry since his days at boarding school in Wales. His collection, 'Meeting the Jet Man' (2008) covers the whole of his RAF career. It is his way of recording and communicating his experiences. Today, he lives on, and works, a small croft near Ullapool where his primary concerns are poetry writing, publishing, philosophy, and looking after his sheep.

For guidance on the use of images and other content, please see the Terms and Conditions page.
High Life Highland is a company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland No. SC407011 and is a registered Scottish charity No. SC042593
Powered by Capture

'Folding the Sheets'

2000s

poems; audio; literary landscapes

Am Baile

Literary Landscapes: David Knowles

'This is a poem from my collection, 'Meeting the Jet Man', a book of poetry and writing which looks at the world from the inside of a cockpit of a Tornado - my workplace for nearly twenty years. This particular poem looks at the way altitude and speed alter perceptions of the landscape.<br /> <br /> Folding the Sheets<br /> <br /> Nobody thinks it strange<br /> if the high-altitude world<br /> shrivels to a stillness;<br /> the hours pass in slideshow,<br /> carousel clicking while we blink.<br /> Pass Lewis an unknown angry sea<br /> there Iceland Nova Scotia Maine.<br /> How would anything be strange<br /> when it's fifty below<br /> on the skin of this bubble;<br /> we only barely inside<br /> strapped tight in a warm hum,<br /> nibbling biscuits between oxygen.<br /> <br /> Fly lower, waking the nap of the earth -<br /> now everyone has their notion of propriety.<br /> How can you possibly <i>see</i> ...<br /> - the lone climber on a snow-capped Ben -<br /> is he waving? whether he is angry<br /> or has failed almost to be angry<br /> at our panel-beating of his landscape,<br /> trading his peace for this spectacle <br /> of steps cut into air? <br /> <br /> Still lower, faster and faster<br /> until abruptly the little gearbox seizes<br /> the relevance of motion ceases<br /> contingent as it was <br /> on density altitude and entropy,<br /> those dreams the night before,<br /> the angle of the sun.<br /> <br /> The wide field of view now all one place.<br /> We hold the corners of the sheet and fold.'<br /> <br /> <br /> David Knowles has recently retired from a 26-year career in the RAF as a Tornado bomber pilot. He is director of the independent publishing company, Two Ravens Press. <br /> <br /> David read philosophy and physics at Oxford before applying for officer training with the RAF. By the 1990s he was patrolling the southern no-fly zones around Kuwait. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for a mission on the first night of the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, when, short of fuel and heavily laden with bombs, he came under enemy fire but completed the mission before landing on a small desert airstrip. He made the decision to retire in the post-Iraq period.<br /> <br /> David has been writing poetry since his days at boarding school in Wales. His collection, 'Meeting the Jet Man' (2008) covers the whole of his RAF career. It is his way of recording and communicating his experiences. Today, he lives on, and works, a small croft near Ullapool where his primary concerns are poetry writing, publishing, philosophy, and looking after his sheep.