Dennis McHarrie

I suppose they'll say his last thoughts were of simple things,
Of April back at home, and the late sun on his wings;
Or that he murmured someone else's name
As earth reclaimed him sheathed in flame.
Oh God! Let's have no more of empty words,
Lip service ornamenting death!
The worms don't spare the hero;
Nor can children feed upon resounding praises of his deed.
'He died who loved to live,' they'll say,
'Unselfishly so we might have today!'
Like hell! He fought because he had to fight;
He died that's all. It was his unlucky night.

Editor's note: This poem commemorates a friend of the poet who took up a defective plane and crashed, a plane the poet could well have flown himself. It arrived as twelve untitled lines at the foot of a letter to the Trust. The editor wrote the one-word caption: LUCK

The Voice of War -- Michael Joseph Ltd (1995)