Ode To Ye Piston

Posted 03/09/04

By John Pratt

MCI Power Plant Engineer John Pratt composed the following poem to commemorate the end of piston engine overhauls in 1956.

Oh faithful prancing piston,
As we face this fateful year,
We reflect upon your service
As retirement day draws near.

The spirit of adventure,
That turned Man’s thoughts to flight,
Received a veritable uplift
When you helped the brothers Wright.

In your reciprocation,
With the aid of gas and spark,
Your powerful pulsations
Let Man emulate the lark.

When Uncle Sam was threatened,
The Eagle now could soar
As in Camels, Spads and others
We harnessed you to war.

With bigger planes and higher flights,
Airlines began to flower.
For mail and wife and family
We needed all your power.

In nineteen twenty seven
With the Spirit of St. Loo,
You and your eight brothers
Brought Lindbergh safely through.

Douglas, Boeing and Martin
Entrusted to your care
Their wonderful creations
For the conquest of the air.

And then the Constellation
With all 72 of you
Gave unprecedented pleasure
To passengers and crew.

But already on the drawing boards,
Your destiny was set.
The ingenuity of Man
Was working on the jet.

For forty years you helped us,
My tried and trusted friend;
Let it always be remembered
That you labored to the end.

Now proudly sitting on my desk,
Halved and upside down,
You hold my burnt-out cigarettes
In the recesses of your crown.

Intake, Compression, Power, Exhaust,
The rhythm and the zest.
Cease! Harmonic motion,
You have more than earned your rest.

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