English summers, often damp, can invoke long stifling twilights
nothing landbound needlessly moves
contrails crayon across the sky
so many, this close to London’s hub.
Distantly, the buzz of a low plane, pleasure rider reaching up
into the realm of the starlings as they susurrate
a car comes past in the lane droning away round the curves
here the runway cross remains
the old tower still stands intact
as ponies munch and cattle chew
larks lurk in the grass where bombers once turned
occasional ironwork testament to hydrants and gun emplacements
war and weapons layered over by Nature and time.
But, as the dark deepens, the lost come home
tearing blazing incandescent screams rustle up drowsy birds
look up and the dazzling burning blurs past
metal screeches as it tears apart, each time the same
one last attempt at landing whole, at bringing the crate home
so wanting to see sweethearts and Blighty again
then gone, back to oblivion.
The burning pilot saluted you as he passed.
Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond
This poem first appeared in Peacock Journal .