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

Flying Fortress Cloudland-Castle
David Lockyer 2012

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.

play area


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 • Last Modified: 26 May 2014, 08:11