Poetry thread

Discussion in 'General' started by Andy in West Oz, Jul 19, 2007.

  1. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    I like the one that begins:

    Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings
    by John Gillespie Magee, Jr

    When I was a young boy and we only had 3 channels on the TV and they all went off at 12 midnight, one of them would show a very patriotic little signoff short showing military aircraft and whatnot, and this poem was read while it ran.
  2. Andy in West Oz

    Andy in West Oz Senior Member

    Got several more flying poems, but not WW2 based I'm afraid.

    Still be worth reading Kitty.
  3. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    Look at the time on the above posting by me and the itme on posting above that from Andy from Oz. I sent it before I left work this afternoon and it just showed a shor while ago, nearly 5 hours later.
  4. Kitty

    Kitty Very Senior Member

    OK Andy, I'll get the poems up tonight when I am home. Slip, that poem is High Flight by Magee. If someone else hasn't posted it by tonight I'll also put that one up.
  5. Andy in West Oz

    Andy in West Oz Senior Member

    Kitty, I'll throw in High Flight as it sounds like your busy with Mr Potter! I saw it recently around here but it deserves repeating.

    High Flight, a war poem

    O, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
    Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth,
    Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
    You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
    High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
    I've chased the shouting wind along and flung
    My eager craft through footless halls of air.
    Up, up the long delirious, burning blue
    I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
    Where never lark, or even eagles flew;
    And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
    The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
    Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

    John Gillespie Magee, RCAF.
    Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee
    sheila and richard likes this.
  6. Kitty

    Kitty Very Senior Member

    Potter? Rowling seriously needs to learn how to edit! 320+ pages later we finally get the first mention of the Deathly Hallows! :Cartangry:




    Flight is freedom in its purest form,
    To dance with the clouds which follow a storm;
    To roll and glide, to wheel and spin,
    To feel the joy that swells within;
    To leave the earth with its troubles and fly,
    And know the warmth of a clear spring sky;
    Then back to earth at the end of a day,
    Released from the tensions which melted away.
    Should my end come while I am in flight,
    Whether brightest day or darkest night;
    Spare me your pity and shrug off the pain,
    Secure in the knowledge that I'd do it again;
    For each of us is created to die,
    And within me I know,
    I was born to fly.
    — Gary Claud Stokor

    The earth is a depot where wingless angels pass the time,
    Waiting for the long journey home
    Seeing a small boy, smiling in the corner, I ask him ;
    ‘You must be anxious to get home ?’
    ‘I am home’ he replied ‘ I just come here to play the games’
    — Oliver Makin

    Sky Fever (A twist to Masefields 'Sea Fever')
    I must go up to the skies again, to the white clouds and the grey,
    And all I ask is a high launch, and the chance to ‘get away’;
    And the wing’s surge, and the wind’s song, and the quiet clouds’ drifting,
    And a heat-haze on the land’s face, and the warm air’s lifting

    I must go up to the skies again, for the call to soar and glide,
    Is a free call, and a clear call, that may not be denied;
    And all I ask is a sunlit day, and the bright height’s gaining,
    ‘Neath the ‘new-cu’ that towers above, and it’s lift maintaining

    I must go up to the skies again, to the peace of silent flight,
    To the gull’s way, and the hawk’s way, and the free wings’ delight;
    And all I ask is a friendly joke with a laughing fellow rover,
    And a large beer, and a deep sleep, when the long flight’s over
    — Robbie, RAE Gliding Club, ‘Sailplane & Gliding’ magazine

    Someday we will know, where the pilots go
    When their work on earth is through.
    Where the air is clean, and the engines gleam,
    And the skies are always blue.
    They have flown alone, with the engine's moan,
    As they sweat the great beyond,
    And they take delight, at the awesome sight
    of the world spread far and yon.
    Yet not alone, for above the moan, when the earth is
    out of sight,
    As they make their stand, He takes their hand,
    and guides them through the night.
    How near to God are these men of sod,
    Who step near death's last door?
    Oh, these men are real, not made of steel,
    But He knows who goes before,
    And how they live, and love and are beloved,
    But their love is most for air.
    And with death about, they will still fly out,
    And leave their troubles there.
    He knows these things, of men with wings,
    And He knows they are surely true.
    And He will give a hand, to such a man
    'Cause He's a pilot too.
    — unknown, help please


    When this life I'm in is done,
    And at the gates I stand,
    My hope is that I answer all
    His questions on command.

    I doubt He'll ask me of my fame,
    Or all the things I knew, Instead,
    He'll ask of rainbows sent
    On rainy days I flew.

    The hours logged, the status reached,
    The ratings will not matter.
    He'll ask me if I saw the rays
    And how He made them scatter.

    Or what about the droplets clear,
    I spread across your screen?
    And did you see the twinkling eyes.
    If student pilots keen?

    The way your heart jumped in your chest,
    That special solo day-
    Did you take time to thank the one
    Who fell along the way?

    Remember how the runway lights
    Looked one night long ago
    When you were lost and found your way,
    And how-you still dont know?

    How fast, how far, how much, how high?
    He'll ask me not these things
    But did I take the time to watch
    The Moonbeams wash my wings?

    And did you see the patchwork fields
    And mountains I did mould;
    The mirrored lakes and velvet hills,
    Of these did I behold?

    The wind he flung along my wings,
    On final almost stalled.
    And did I know I it was His name,
    That I so fearfully called?

    And when the goals are reached at last,
    When all the flyings done,
    I'll answer Him with no regret-
    Indeed, I had some fun.

    So when these things are asked of me,
    And I can reach no higher,
    My prayer this day - His hand extends
    To welcome home a Flyer.
    — Patrick J. Phillips
  7. Andy in West Oz

    Andy in West Oz Senior Member

    I know that I shall meet my fate
    Somewhere among the clouds above;
    Those that I fight I do not hate,
    Those that I guard I do not love;
    My country is Kiltartan Cross,
    My countrymen Kiltartan's poor,
    No likely end could bring them loss
    Or leave them happier than before.
    Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
    Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
    A lonely impulse of delight
    Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
    I balanced all, brought all to mind,
    The years to come seemed waste of breath,
    A waste of breath the years behind
    In balance with this life, this death.

    William Butler Yeats
  8. Andy in West Oz

    Andy in West Oz Senior Member

    Girl at work just sent this one to me:

    A Front by Randall Jarrell

    Fog over the base: the beams ranging
    From the five towers pull home from the night
    The crews cold in fur, the bombers banging
    Like lost trucks down the levels of the ice.
    A glow drifts in like mist (how many tons of it?),
    Bounces to a roll, turns suddenly to steel
    And tyres and turrets, huge in the trembling light.
    The next is high, and pulls up with a wail,
    Comes round again - no use. And no use for the rest
    In drifting circles out along the range;
    Holding no longer, changed to a kinder course,
    The flights drone southward through the steady rain.
    The base is closed...But one voice keeps on calling,
    The lowering pattern of the engines grows;
    The roar gropes downward in its shaky orbit
    For the lives the season quenches. Here below
    They beg, order, are not heard; and hear the darker
    Voice rising: Can't you hear me? Over. Over -
    All the air quivers, and the east sky glows.

    Randall Jarrell was born in 1914. He studied psychology before joining the US Army Air Corps in 1942, where he became a trainer of pilots. His childhood had been happy, but his experience of war was not. Indeed, people who knew him well said that after 1942 he was never really happy again.
  9. Andy in West Oz

    Andy in West Oz Senior Member

    The 22 Squadron Lament

    From Kamchatka down to Moresby, from Canton across to Leeds,
    There are men who hit the headlines, by the merit of their deeds,
    Every paper tells the story of sturdy suntanned Gods,
    Who came from way down under and despite inhuman odds
    Never hesitate or falter or stand asking what to do,
    But it’s hard to find a mention of the men of TWENTY TWO.
    Down at Airboard where it’s busy, and the seats are wearing thin,
    And the Squadrons bound for action, have been picked out with
    a pin,
    Billy Bostock and Big Wigs and the great MacArthur too,
    Rest happy in the knowledge that they still have Twenty Two.
    Other Squadrons, new formed units have departed for the fray,
    And the Air Force band has played them to the station on their way,
    While all along the tarmac, looking pitifully blue,
    Stand the pilots and the groundstaff of the Fighting Twenty Two.
    All the fellows in the Squadron think they have the right to kick,
    The indifference of the Airboard seems to them a bit too thick,
    Why, you’ll hear the airmen grouching “should they treat us all
    like dubs?”,
    “Don’t they read the Daily Tele? Don’t they know about our subs?”
    There have been a thousand rumours, we’ve had panics by the score,
    But the Squadron’s still at Richmond and we’ve still to win the war.
    Every morning just at daybreak when the sun begins to rise,
    You can hear the Bostons zooming up into the skies,
    And the civvies cheer and tell their friends “These chaps will see
    us through.”
    But it’s circuits and landings for the boys of TWENTY TWO.
    Men grow older up at Richmond and their frame work stands to bend
    And their brows are lined with worrying, that when the turmoil
    They’ll be stranded with the Bostons and won’t know what to do,
    And the history books call them the FORGOTTEN TWENTY TWO.
    And in peacetime in the taverns when the squadrons breast the
    Someone’s bound to tell the barmaid, “I know who these fellows
    They’re the Dinkum Richmond Anzacs, but whatever else you do,
    For heaven’s sake don’t mention the FORGOTTEN TWENTY TWO.
  10. Marina

    Marina Senior Member

    Danse Grotesque - John Rimmington

    The Devil played the drums when Peter died
    An overture of bombs and crashing sound
    A whirling slip of splinter caught his side
    And deftly set his body spinning round.

    Alas! He missed his final curtain calls
    A khaki Harlequin in 'Danse Grotesque'
    With just a single vulture in the stalls
    To witness so superb and arabesque.
  11. Marina

    Marina Senior Member

    A Reply to Rupert Brooke's 'in that rich earth a richer dust concealed', I think:

    At a War Grave - John Jarmain

    No grave is rich, the dust that herein lies
    Beneath this white cross mixing with the sand
    Was vital once, with skill of eye and hand
    And speed of brain. These will not re-arise
    These riches, nor will they be replaced;
    They are lost and nothing now, and here is left
    Only a worthless corpse of sense bereft,
    Symbol of death, and sacrifice and waste.

    El Alamein, 30 October 1942.

    (from Return to Oasis: War Poems & Recollections from the Middle East 1940 - 1946)
  12. Marina

    Marina Senior Member

    Prisoners of War

    John Jarmain
    Like shabby ghosts down dried-up river beds
    The tired procession slowly leaves the field;
    Dazed and abandoned, just a count of heads,
    They file away, these who have done their last,
    To that grey safety where the days are sealed,
    Where no word enters, and the urgent past
    Is relieved day by day against the clock
    Whose hours are meaningless, whose measured rate
    Brings nearer nothing, only serves to mock.
    It is ended now.
    There's no more need to choose,
    To fend and think and act; no need to hate.
    Now all their will is worthless, none will lose
    And none will suffer though their courage fail.
    The tension in the brain is loosened now,
    Its taut decisions slack: no more alone--
    How I and each of us has been alone
    Like lone trees which the lightnings all assail --
    They are herded now and have no more to give.
    Even fear is past.
    And death, so long so near,
    Has suddenly receded to its station
    In the misty end of life. For these will live,
    They are quit of killing and sudden mutilation;
    They no longer cower at the sound of a shell in the air,
    They are safe.
    And in the glimmer at time's end
    They will return -- old, worn maybe, but sure --
    And gather their bits of broken lives to mend.
    Sicily. August - October, 1943
  13. Leslie

    Leslie Member

    Beautiful Sapper not only do you recount your wartime experiences wonderfully, you write moving poetry as well. I am still waiting for the next excerpt of your battle stories on World War II forums.

  14. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    We're the Battling Bastards of Bataan,
    No Mama, No Papa, No Uncle Sam,
    No aunts, no uncles, no cousins, no nieces,
    No pills, no planes, no artillery pieces,
    And nobody gives a damn!

    Frank Hewlett - Wikipedia
    sheila and richard likes this.
  15. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    My grand father was in the 69th New York in Mexico and France.

    sheila and richard likes this.
  16. Quis Separabit

    Quis Separabit Junior Member Patron

    A couple specific to the 2 Royal Ulster Rifles about their Combined Ops training at Inverary and their most costly battle at Cambes Wood....

    Ode to Inverary

    This bloody place is a bloody cuss
    No bloody tram, no bloody bus
    And do they care for bloody us?
    In bloody Inveraray

    The bloody films are bloody old
    The bloody seats are bloody sold
    Can't get in for bloody gold
    In bloody Inveraray

    It bloody pours, it bloody rains
    No bloody kerbs, no bloody drains
    Ain't no-one got no brains
    In bloody Inveraray

    Everything's so bloody dear
    A bloody bob for a bloody beer
    And is it good? no bloody fear
    In bloody Inveraray

    All bloody work no bloody games
    No bloody fun with bloody dames
    Wouldn't even tell their names
    In bloody Inveraray

    Enough of this ere bloody rhyme
    Everything's just a waste of time
    Next week'll be just "T" sime
    In bloody Inveraray.

    'Cambes Woods' by Paddy Murphy

    I gazed upon a foreign field
    Where British blood was shed
    And there I placed a poppy,
    In remembrance of our dead.

    My heart was full of sorrow
    And my tears began to flow
    When came those misty memories
    Of that day so long ago.

    I saw the woods of Cambes appear
    In the light of early morn
    And riflemen waiting to advance
    Across the fields of growing corn.

    When came the thunder of the guns
    Lines of riflemen arose as one,
    And over the field into enemy fire
    They advanced at a steady run.

    They stormed and took the wood
    And Cambes village fell by noon
    The cost was the blood of the riflemen,
    On the field on that day of June.

    I bow my head in solemn prayer,
    My words are firm and true
    Rest in peace you Ulster Rifles
    For we still remember you.

    A memorial now stands there
    In remembrance of those who died
    But regarding of the passing years
    We still speak of them with pride.

    Quis Separabit


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