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Poetry of Direct Personal Experience
Our Collection of Aviation and Military Poetry

Lie in the Dark and Listen
Noel Coward

Lie in the dark and listen, 


It's clear tonight so they're flying high


Hundreds of them, thousands perhaps, 


Riding the icy, moonlight sky. 


Men, materials, bombs and maps 


Altimeters and guns and charts 


Coffee, sandwiches, fleece-lined boots 


Bones and muscles and minds and hearts 


English saplings with English roots


Deep in the earth they've left below 


Lie in the dark and let them go 


Lie in the dark and listen.


Lie in the dark and listen




They're going over in waves and waves


High above villages, hills and streams


Country churches and little graves


And little citizen's worried dreams.


Very soon they'll have reached the sea


And far below them will lie the bays


And coves and sands where they used to be


Taken for summer holidays.


Lie in the dark and let them go


Lie in the dark and listen.



Lie in the dark and listen 



City magnates and steel contractors, 


Factory workers and politicians 


Soft hysterical little actors Ballet dancers,


'reserved' musicians, 


Safe in your warm civilian beds 


Count your profits and count your sheep


Life is flying above your heads 


Just turn over and try to sleep. 


Lie in the dark and let them go 


Theirs is a world you'll never know 


Lie in the dark and listen.

Read by the late Richard Briers during the dedication of the memorial stone presented by Betty McMillan to the crew of 9 Squadron Lancaster I HK788 WS-E

(Lancaster at night picture courtesy Peters Design)

Lancaster crew

Lancaster at night

lancaster night contact

Betty with Richard Briers

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 • Last Modified: 24 August 2014, 08:38