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2014, Aaron Elson

 

   

Ode to a P-38

Anonymous

This poem was copied into a journal kept by Corman Bean, a navigator on a B-24 with the 445th Bomb Group whose plane was shot down on the Kassel Mission bombing raid of Sept. 27, 1944. Bean acquired the poem while he was a prisoner of war at Stalag Luft 1 in Barth, Germany.

 

Oh, Hedy Lamar is a beautiful gal

Madeline Carroll is too

But you’ll find if you query a much different theory

Amongst any bomber crew

That the loveliest thing of which one can sing

This side of the heavenly gates

Is no blonde or brunette of the Hollywood set

But an escort of P-38s

 

In all the days past when the tables were massed

With glasses of scotch and champagne

It’s quite true that that sight was a thing to delight us

Intent on feeling no pain

But no longer the same nowadays in this game

As we sail onto the missing state

Take your sparkling wine but always make mine

An escort of P-38s

 

Byron, Shelley and Keats ran each other dead heats

Describing the views from the hills

Of the valleys in May where the winds gently sway

An army of bright daffodils

Take your daffodils Byron, the wild flowers Shelley

Yours is the myrtle, friend Keats

Just preserve me those cuties

All American beauties

An escort of P-38s

 

Sure we’re braver than hell on the ground all is well

In the air it’s a much different story

As we sweat out our track through the fighters and flak

We’re willing to split up the glory

Well, they wouldn’t reject us so heaven protect us

Until all this shootin’ abates

Give us courage to fight ‘em and another small item

An escort of P-38s

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