Nam si vos omnibus imperitare vultis, sequitur ut omnes servitutem accipiant?
(Tacitus, Annales XII, xxxvii)

26 Apr 2010

Wing Walker

Named after his dad, who walked on Wacos
and Stearmans in the Twenties, and hovered
above county fairs and Moose Lodge picnics
holding on with one hand, waving to the crowd—

B-17 with 26 flights out and back suddenly
on its 27th return taking heavy fire through
the fuselage, evasive action, no functioning
navigational instruments, no way to get back

and night coming on, but no engine damage,
and enough fuel, yet no way to get a bearing,
no sense of where England lies—crew peering
into the haze, everyone quiet, not talking—

so he takes her down, down, down toward
Deutschland below, down into open farmland
to treetop level roaring along and looking for
a chicken coop, knowing farmers everywhere

are the same, that its windows will face south,
and sees one at last, and knows where west is,
and takes her back up, and at last they can find
the way, and know they are headed for home.

(Continuing the theme of honouring World War II air crew is this fine poem by Jared Carter, first published in the excellent Innisfree Poetry Journal)

1 comment:

Pat said...

Loving this tribute....honor the warriors, not the wars.