zondag 11 september 2011

Jeffery Day, Engeland (1896-1918)

Jeffery Day geboren op 1 december 1896 te St. Ives, Huntingdonshire was een van de weinige warpoets die geen deel uitmaakte van de infanterie, maar het grootste deel van de oorlog vanuit de lucht heeft gadegeslagen, tot hij op 27 februari 1918, ondertussen gepromoveerd tot commandant, werd neergehaald boven zee.

Zijn gedichten werden postuum gepubliceerd in 1919 als "Poems and Rhymes"


A SUDDEN roar, a mighty rushing sound,
a jolt or two, a smoothly sliding rise,
a jumbled blur of disappearing ground,
and then all sense of motion slowly dies.
Quiet and calm, the earth slips past below,
as underneath a bridge still waters flow.

My turning wing inclines towards the ground ;
the ground itself glides up with graceful swing
and at the plane's far tip twirls slowly round,
then drops from sight again beneath the wing
to sUp away serenely as before,
a cubist-patterned carpet on the floor.

Hills gently sink and valleys gently fill.
The flattened fields grow infinitely small;
slowly they pass beneath and slower still
until they hardly seem to move at all.
Then suddenly they disappear from sight,
hidden by fleeting wisps of faded white.

The wing-tips, faint and dripping, dimly show,
blurred by the wreaths of mist that intervene.
Weird, half-seen shadows flicker to and fro
across the pallid fog-bank's blinding screen.
At last the choking mists release their hold,
and all the world is silver, blue, and gold.

The air is clear, more clear than sparkling wine ;
compared with this, wine is a turgid brew.
The far horizon makes a clean-cut line
between the silver and the depthless blue.
Out of the snow-white level reared on high
glittering hills surge up to meet the sky.

Outside the wind screen's shelter gales may race :
but in the seat a cool and gentle breeze
blows steadily upon my grateful face
as I sit motionless and at my ease,
contented just to loiter in the sun
and gaze around me till the day is done.

And so I sit, half sleeping, half awake,
dreaming a happy dream of golden days,
until at last, with a reluctant shake,
I rouse myself, and with a lingering gaze
at all the splendour of the shining plain
make ready to come down to earth again.

The engine stops : a pleasant silence reigns—
silence, not broken, but intensified
by the soft, sleepy wires' insistent strains,
that rise and fall, as with a sweeping glide
I slither down the well-oiled sides of space
towards a lower, less enchanted place.

The clouds draw nearer, changing as they come.
Now, hke a flash, fog grips me by the throat.
Down goes the nose : at once the wires' low hum
begins to rise in volume and in note,
till as I hurtle from the choking cloud
it swells into a scream, high-pitched and loud.

The scattered hues and shades of green and brown
fashion themselves into the land I know,
turning and twisting, as I spiral down
towards the landing-ground ; till, skimming low,
I glide with slackening speed across the ground,
and come to rest with lightly grating sound.

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