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It was the model spitfire in your front room window

That identified you, separated you from that tribe,

We call ‘the old’.

I saw you sometimes at the shops, your movements slow, deliberate,

Arthritic, I thought, I was wrong.

You carried a basket, the old-fashioned clumpy kind.

And you were always glancing behind you. I thought it was the traffic

You feared, but  it was the Messerschmit ME 262 that still had you in its sights.


Frank, you were too tough with the kids who gathered,

Smoking, talking, laughing, outside your front door of an evening. 

They were only young. Though I expect

You had forgotten the mess and all that false machismo-bonhomie

You shared before a raid.  


At your funeral, I sat at the back, you had a few family,

No friends left alive. I think of your skin,

Safe inside the coffin, now

No longer agony to move

Around in.

You told me once it took you two hours to get dressed.


Transfixed by

The image of the naked Vietnamese girl fleeing napalm

Mixed up with your burning descent through the air above

The South Downs, I whisper my thanks, old friend.  


◄ Go tell the Riverman.

Spectral ►


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John Coopey

Tue 24th Sep 2019 08:55

Beautiful, John.
And wonderful touch with the link to MD at the end.

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Don Matthews

Tue 24th Sep 2019 00:01

Very good John.....

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