Con Trails, or Hitler Owes Me Suit!

February 28, 2013

Last night I saw a short film by Haydn Reiss, ‘Every War Has Two Losers’, which was a tribute of sorts to the pacifism of William Stafford. Even at my age I remain uncertain as to how I should react if something I loved was attacked. The event where I saw the film was a Poetry meeting organised by Tom Hogan in Milwaukie, Oregon. There was a small crowd. After the film an open mike was run and I read two poems. The first by the war poet Wilfred Owen, Dulce et Decorum Est, and the second, my own, a work in progress. Here it is, I welcome any comments politely delivered.

Con Trails, or Hitler Owes Me A Suit!

A young boy is on his back in the damp ferns of a Kentish wood
Sucking a stem of grass, applying a dock leaf to the nettle rash
Watching the con trails of the peaceful silver aeroplanes
Droning from London to Paris and back in the peaceful blue summer sky
Innocent and unaware how busy this same summer sky had once been
With so many trails knitted with the smoke and flames
of falling machinery and screams of dying young men.
And at nightfall came more machines with death
Undiscriminating death, dropping, whistling, from their bellies.
And later still rockets came out of that sky.
Two failed to kill his parents, coming so close,
Direct hits,
But did destroy his Fathers new pinstripe suit
The reward of hoarded ration coupons
“Hitler owes me a suit!”
He said now and then.
Now and then when it seemed
A joke about the war would be let go.
The boy gets up and waves to the silver aeroplanes
Droning across the peaceful blue sky.

burning bomber

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