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Fig. 15 Abandoning Lines in Flight, or the Art of Sinking 

I. GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS: abandoning your craft

1. Notify words to abandon verse.
At first alarum, all words deplore parachutes.

2. Jettison simile, off oad metaphor.
Use the emergency release handle.

3. Consider the retort of recalcitrant motors.

4. Restrain the craft, control the plain
but treat verse with abandon. Reduce fancy
and maintain level flight.

4a. The signal will be one long ring on the alarm bell.

5. To facilitate disengagement, engage the automatic
p... no,
leave it, “pilot.”

6. Exit via rhyming couplets, or,
if time permits,
use the main entrance stanza.

7. When leaving, face forward;
tumble from a crouched position.
Refer to figure 15.


1. Face the front of the page.

2. Look about: above you the aeropause and below
an accomplished horizon.

3. Grasp the figure of speech while jumping,
but do not declaim until clear of the craft.

4. Pull the avowal all the way out;
Reach a rapport with felicity.

5. Let the parachute assume its worthiness.
Check oscillations. As the world reverses,
transfer your pull from line to line. Think tidal.

6. Guard your eyes, speak softly, bend. Learn the art
of sinking.

7. Prevent fouling in the floating canopy;
Swim a while.

8. Under no circumstances inflate language
even if time permits. It helps to have
a passion for the plane.

9. Do not release the sea-markings
until the value’s clear.
Dye is short; it’s life that’s long.

10. See item II.3.i.a. Refer to fi g. 15.

  • A poem by Bruce Robinson.


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