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

Fifty Eight Years On
David Lockyer 2012

Scaled planes buzz above the runways where Lancasters set out

Thrusting for Germany.  Or, low trail streaks of here and gone,

Modern fighters roar overhead almost too fast to follow.

The take off is concrete still, just about roadworthy,

Pitted and cracked; landings impossible.

Methering Airfield: myth and legend whispering to me,

Or any visitor crossing its levelled history.

Whatever the war maps indicate

Only ruins state huts and scramble and death and getting back

Of devil-dare and cast to the wind,

Of, ‘How come I’m returning?’, mystery.

Only bull-dozered rubble says anything at all.

Do these mounds still offer archaeology?

Or long plundered of all but the hardcore they display?

Fifty-eight years ago and six years before me,

Few memories left to re-enact.

Here, exact planning and execution of slaughter

(Right or wrong seems too easy a debate.)

When the independent fate of Britain and the world

Depended on bombs and crews and accuracy.

Like films without accreditation – dependant on the many

In manufacture, haulage, hanger, workshop and killer plane.

All were targets but only the bomber lads, measuring their lives in trips

Took to this runway, took off and flew the often fatal farce

Of courage trying to out-shout fear

Holding on so calmly that you could scream in a vacuum.

Cannon, tracer, shells and limping home machinery

Weather, nerve, application and repeating suicide

With luck and superstition and prayers all equally

Applied.  And no future until you reached it.

Submitted to Aircrew Remembered by David Lockyer. David holds the copyright and permission must be sought to reprint, thank you.

Mustang and Falcon

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 • Last Modified: 26 May 2014, 08:10