An Unknown Aviator , poem by Michael Catherwood

An Unknown Aviator

        Letter Home from a World War I Pilot

    I've lived beyond my time. The clouds are ghosts
    shot full of holes... sometimes they
    are soldiers, friends I dream I've lost.

    At night I cannot sleep, but when sleep dusts
    the barracks, a hundred men find their way.
    I've lived beyond my time, and the clouds are ghosts,

    ghosts turning corners in Boulonge. Those close
    come back to life. I'm confused about who remains.
    Where are the soldiers, friends I think I've lost?

    There are no gods in clouds, and empty wind blows
    the stink of grease, gunfire. The ground is where I pray
    I'll live beyond my time. Why do clouds hold ghosts,

    cockpits clog with nerves? I fear most
    I'm no longer young, look sixty, gray
    like soldiers and friends I dream I've lost.

    Tonight I'll sleep, writhe and toss
    through skies clear and silent and tame.
    I'll live beyond my time in clouds without ghosts,
    visit soldiers and friends I fear I've lost.


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