The poem you've shared pays tribute to the lives and works of Wilbur and Orville Wright, also known as the Wright Brothers. The Wright Brothers, both born in Ohio, were inventors and pioneers of aviation. In 1903, they famously achieved the first powered, controlled, and sustained airplane flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
The poet, Stephen Vincent Benet, using a conversational style, presents an engaging narrative that highlights the determination, courage, and strong bond of brotherhood shared by the Wright Brothers. Benet playfully imagines their conversations and efforts as they strive to understand and conquer flight.
The poem begins with the Wright Brothers observing birds, with Orville expressing frustration over their ability to fly while humans cannot. Wilbur, not willing to accept this limitation, insists that they can overcome it. The brothers then work tirelessly to build their own flying machine, starting with a glider.
Benet highlights their humble beginnings in a bicycle-repair shop and depicts their persistent efforts, despite various difficulties and accidents. They support and encourage each other throughout their journey, never losing hope or determination.
The climax of the poem comes with their successful flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903, where Orville pilots the first real airplane. Benet asserts that this momentous achievement will not be forgotten, likening it to a significant part of human evolution and civilization.
Stephen Vincent Benet was a renowned American poet, short story writer, and novelist. His narrative poems often centred around American history and culture, such as the American Civil War. His storytelling and his understanding of the American spirit are apparent in the engaging narrative and patriotic tone of this poem about the Wright Brothers.