An English Airman Recalls His Death

by Phyllida Jacobs

Was this where the plane came down,
Its fire put out in unmarked earth?
Among the sparse crow-companied trees,
An unnamed lane by Solway Firth?
Those living bodies crowded round,
What brought them to this lifeless scene?
Just a small stone set in soil:
“Unknown soldier, aged nineteen”.
My bones were buried further off,
The body melted down for scrap,
And in nine weeks some new boy’s head
Wore the dirt-stained airman’s cap.
Yet still I see them plodding on,
This iron hunger of the mind.
So the ones who walk before,
As the ones who fell behind.