From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.
—Randall Jarrell, 1945
Used by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved. www.fsgpoetry.com. “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” is from The Complete Poems by Randall Jarrell. Copyright © 1969, renewed 1997 by Mary von S. Jarrell. CAUTION: Users are warned that this work is protected under copyright laws and downloading is strictly prohibited. The right to reproduce (other than printing out a page for personal use) or transfer the work via any medium must be secured with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC.
Home page image: "Wegbereiter Ikarus," print, woodblock on paper, by Wilhelm Geissler, 1966. (Courtesy NASM)