Poem of the Month for August 2021

The poem of the month for August 2021 is “In the Local,” by W. A. G. Kemp. This poem describes Royal Air Force (RAF) pilots in their off duty moments during the Battle of Britain, which was being fought in the skies over England eighty-one years ago this month.

In the Local

You see them in the “Local” anywhere
In town or country near a fighter station
In flying boots and scarves—their ruffled hair
Like schoolboys out for a jolly celebration:
Eight in a car for four had raced along
And miracles were wrought to bring them here.
To pass an hour with banter, darts and song
And drink a pint or two of English beer,
And talk of “binds” and “dims” with lots of natter
Of “ropey jobs” and “wizard types” and “gen”
Amid much laughter glasses chink and clatter.
Deep underneath was hid the real men,
Who saw their comrades fall out of the skies,
And knew too well the look in dead men’s eyes.

Notes:

“the local”: a local bar or pub
“binds”: complaint about a difficult or unpleasant situation
“dims”: a dim (poor) view of a situation
natter: joking
“ropey jobs”: below standard
“wizard types”: excellent airplane (or individual)
“gen”: the latest news

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