Each month I intend to post a poem, not by me, but previously published by a poet. The subject of each poem, not surprisingly, will be related to flight or to the military experience in general. This month the poem is by John Buxton, a member of the British armed forces, who was taken prisoner by German forces in Norway in 1940. He wrote this poem while he was a prisoner of war in Oflag VIIB. It describes his impressions of hearing an RAF bomber raid while he was in a POW camp.
“The Bombers Drum Their Way Along the Night”
The bombers drum their way along the night
With slow tattoo, down an invisible track
Drawn on a map of Europe, which now lies black,
Huddled in silence. So, at mountain-height,
They tread their level path beyond our sight
And pass relentlessly onward, flinging back
The tramp of engines moving to attack
Enemy cities, to set their streets alight.
And we lie listening, hoping to hear the burst
Of bombs in the crumbling houses, to hear the panes
Shivering in our windows. We shall be first
To tot up the dead in the papers. (Someone explains
That this is a partial list.) We too have been cursed
By the bombs; we have felt their pulses in all our veins.