Castles in the air full of cannon fire
Bombed Hitler to submission, then the Emperor of Japan;
Became modified coastal guards in Korea
Covertly utilised in Vietnam:
13 machine guns, five gunners angled at attack
Strategic bomber, 9 600 lb deadly shower
Resilient, strong against assault
Wright engines revving up to 285 MPH.
RAF Lancaster Lions at night, Flying Fortress America by day
Nearly 7 000 B-17s built, fourteen still flown and maintained.
In its wartime roll: a warrior
A derivative became the B307 cargo and passenger plane.
All undercarriage history now, flown and landed
American sweetheart of memory
‘Memphis Belle’, ‘Dixie Jane’, ‘Ain’t Miss Behaven’
‘Dinah Might’, ‘Dorothy C’ and ‘Karen B’.
Myth and history keep this pseudonym alive
Flying Fortress a name living on worldwide
A U.S.A. Locksmith company and now play frame
Fun times in West Sussex countryside.
B-17 replica in rods and joints, fitted out for gusto
For slide and buffet, slither and tumble
Into adventure, stretch physicality away from harm
Help on hand if you come a cropper… or just stumble.
Huge wheels that never take off.
Be a pilot. Keep the propeller turning.
Explore the fuselage of this self discovery aeroplane;
How far can you push yourself, by yourself… learning.
Climb to the heights, whoosh to the floor
Find out what those odd mirrors show
One marvellous immense gigantic maze
Always something new to keep you on the go.
Cling, clamber, jump and bump,
To the tune of once upon
Carrying imagination on your shoulder
Like a pirate parrot egging you on.
Chase and follow and lead… pause
Roam then rush and roll
Spring and fall and ricochet
Everything and nothing your goal.
Evade and avoid, hide and seek
Leap and bounce and rebound
As much pioneering you as you can take
As much in the air as on the ground.
Here be laughter, not slaughter
Here be smile and squeal, not bomber engine drone
Here be joy… not fear
Here be a safe unknown.
Joy ride runway, flying circus, flying school,
Experimental flying aerodrome
All have shared this place
With wartime hopes of getting home.
Once bombers accelerated into chance return
Living, GebFlaK, fodder…canned,
Now children on bouncy castle and trampoline
Take off and… always land.David explained to us what inspired him to write this:
I took my grandson to a ‘playframe’ birthday party, the Flying Fortress in West Sussex.It is a play centre with a central adventure frame approximating ing the B-17. I am a poet and got to contrasting the squeals of the children with the drone of war plane engines as this was a base for USA sorties into Germany in the 1940s.
Poem submitted to Aircrew Remembered by David Lockyer. David holds the copyright and permission must be sought to reprint, thank you.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember
them. - Laurence
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• Last Modified: 26 May 2014, 08:11 •