27 JANUARY 1956, Page 38

The Charmed Air

The usual prize was offered for a rhymed charm for the safety of a friend making

journey by air.

'CHARMS strike the sight, but merit wins the prize,' as Pope might have written, but did not. The air-travelling friends of the enthusiastic weavers of spells who entered for this competition should have few qualms, so many and so potent were the beings invoked to give good take-offs, smooth flying and happy landings. And amulets varied from a flyingirfish's fin to a wren's feather. In my view the entries reminding the timid traveller too grimly of engine failure and other possible causes of disaster would be less welcome than the gaily encouraging verses. Attractive examples of the latter came from Una Cheverton, P. M., Susan Parkin Moore, J. R. Greenwood, H. A. C. Evans and Christine Greenfield, but first prize of £2 must go to R. J. P. Hewison's entry (charm- ing in both senses of the word). Leonard Cooper, Christine Thomas and Hope Scott earn £1 each; and the runners-up are J. Aitken and Ruth Clay.


(R. 3. P. HEWISON)

Castor and Pollux, heavenly pair,

See you safely take the air. • - Pegasus, aerial horse, Keep your craft 'ikon its course. Jupiter Pluvius, be not nigh; Ditto Tonans, void the sky. Absint fulgdr, nausea, nix; Puck and Ariel, play no tricks. Terminus, at your journey's bound, Set you lightly on the ground. Mercury, god of—you know who— Chalk your baggage and you're through,


Hera of Heaven, Aid and protect him, Point and direct him, Pleiades seven.

Yarn of your weaving, Lachesis, tear not, Atropos, shear not, Nereus, tide-heaving, Darkly content thee, Icarus wake not. New desire slake not, Gods all prevent Thee.


Feathers from an eagle's wing, Thistle-down, a seed or so, Blow them through a smoker's ring; Do this just before you go; Strength and speed of eagle's flight Through the clouds this will ensure, And a landing downy-light. But to make you quite secure Till regaining earth beneath, Better than all mortal charms, Say—and know it—'Underneath Are the Everlasting Arms.'



(to be set to a charming air) Feather filched from swallow's wing Help her heavenward wandering; Skylark's singing surge to height Give her gaiety in flight.

Patterned eye from peacock's pride Watch her starlight spangled ride. Blackbird's whistle, cuckoo's call Lilt my magic madrigal; Sing thou, fluting philomel, Siren songs to cast this spell. Lady mine, new-fledged, from harm Ev'ry chick that flies shall charm. COMMENDED


Winged cherubim escort this plane That no rude wind nor blinding rain Affront it traversing the skies;

At night, may stars with friendly eyes, a By day, a genial sun look down; No clouds distort with ugly frown The smiling heavens; may thunder stay And dreadful lightning far away; And, when it reaches journey's end, May every traveller greet a friend.


Thrice sit thou mute in this enchanted chair; Thrice ring the airport clerk and speak him fair;

Then thrice three times thy night-stop bag repack

Until the airport clerk shalt ring thee back.

And when at last thou wav'st a fond good-bye. Heed not the screech-owl nor the firebird's cry. But know thy Constellation is most apt For this take-off in smog and sulphur wrapt; Murmur : 'By B and 0 and A and C What must be. must : what is to be, will be,' And journey eastward to a new sunrise Secure in all the charms I can devise.