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Battle of Britain poetry.

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  • Battle of Britain poetry.

    I posted this in the WW2 section and drew a blank, just wondered if it may fare a tad better down here among the riff-raff!

    What did we earth-bound make of it? A tangle
    Of vapour trails, a vertiginously high
    Swarming of midges, at most a fiery apgel
    Hurled out of heaven, was all we could descry.

    How could we know the agony and pride
    That scrawled those fading signatures up there,
    And the cool expertise of them who died
    Or lived through that delirium of the air

    Grounded on history now, we re-enact
    Such lives, such deaths. Time, laughing out of court
    The newspaper heroics and the faked
    Statistics, leaves us only to record.

    What was, what might have been fighter and bomber
    The tilting sky, tense moves and counterings;
    Those who outlived that legendary summer;
    Those who went down, it's sunlight on their wings.

    And you, unborn then, what will you make of it-
    This shadow-play of battles long ago?
    Be sure of this: they pushed to the uttermost limit
    Their luck, skill, nerve.And they were young like you.

    --------------------

    Mischievous, laughing boys, who grew
    To quick manhood to be 'The Few'
    Who flew above all human call
    Through Summer's height to Autumn's fall,
    Infring'd the sanctity of space
    In freedom's name-and died in grace;
    Falling like leaves upon the Weald
    To russet-spot on English field,
    Their brief, gay, valiant season spent
    For us. Our task, their monument,
    Nature herself has taken o'er
    And has decreed for evermore,
    'The Few' shall be remembered by
    White chalk marks in a summer sky



    One of these was written by a Poet Laureate, the other by anon. Who wrote wot and which do you like best?
    The long toll of the brave
    Is not lost in darkness
    Over the fruitful earth
    And athwart the seas
    Hath passed the light of noble deeds
    Unquenchable forever.

  • #2
    I would guess the second is the poet laureate. Can't quite put my finger on why, maybe the tense it is written in.
    Wolster

    Comment


    • #3
      Another well know piece of BoB Poetry:

      "High Flight"

      by John Gillespie Magee

      [Magee was a fighter pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force when he wrote the following poem. He was killed at age 19 when shot down in the World War II Battle of Britain. The poem has been a favorite of pilots, and was carried to the Moon by several of the Apollo astronauts.]

      Oh, 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 windswept heights with easy grace
      Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
      And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
      The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
      Put out my hand and touched the face of God.
      Wolster

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Wolster View Post
        Another well know piece of BoB Poetry:

        "High Flight"

        by John Gillespie Magee

        [Magee was a fighter pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force when he wrote the following poem. He was killed at age 19 when shot down in the World War II Battle of Britain. The poem has been a favorite of pilots, and was carried to the Moon by several of the Apollo astronauts.]

        Oh, 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 windswept heights with easy grace
        Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
        And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
        The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
        Put out my hand and touched the face of God.
        When I was a kid, the last thing that the tv stations used to do before shutting down for the night was to play the National Anthem and then to recite Magee's poem with appropriate AirForce film clips in the background.
        "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Von Richter View Post
          I posted this in the WW2 section and drew a blank, just wondered if it may fare a tad better down here among the riff-raff!

          What did we earth-bound make of it? A tangle
          Of vapour trails, a vertiginously high
          Swarming of midges, at most a fiery apgel
          Hurled out of heaven, was all we could descry.

          How could we know the agony and pride
          That scrawled those fading signatures up there,
          And the cool expertise of them who died
          Or lived through that delirium of the air

          Grounded on history now, we re-enact
          Such lives, such deaths. Time, laughing out of court
          The newspaper heroics and the faked
          Statistics, leaves us only to record.

          What was, what might have been fighter and bomber
          The tilting sky, tense moves and counterings;
          Those who outlived that legendary summer;
          Those who went down, it's sunlight on their wings.

          And you, unborn then, what will you make of it-
          This shadow-play of battles long ago?
          Be sure of this: they pushed to the uttermost limit
          Their luck, skill, nerve.And they were young like you.

          --------------------

          Mischievous, laughing boys, who grew
          To quick manhood to be 'The Few'
          Who flew above all human call
          Through Summer's height to Autumn's fall,
          Infring'd the sanctity of space
          In freedom's name-and died in grace;
          Falling like leaves upon the Weald
          To russet-spot on English field,
          Their brief, gay, valiant season spent
          For us. Our task, their monument,
          Nature herself has taken o'er
          And has decreed for evermore,
          'The Few' shall be remembered by
          White chalk marks in a summer sky



          One of these was written by a Poet Laureate, the other by anon. Who wrote wot and which do you like best?
          Good stuff as always Von, you old poet, you!.
          "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

          Comment

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