Group Captain

This picture was taken by my wonderful Father in the 60s, when he was in the RAF and we were stationed abroad for a while.  The poem says the rest.


We lost you a long time ago

When battle lines were drawn.

Where were you when the bitter fight

Began and we were torn

Apart, our feet on different ground,

No path for us to tread

No hands to hold; no resting place,

At night a different bed.

The battle raged, and over what?

Some land to call our own,

A place for us to settle in,

Rich earth, where seeds are sown

For healthy growth, for sense of self,

To harvest and to feed,

We fought each other, long and hard,

A basic human need

So disregarded; set aside

As you flew high above,

Pursuing clouds and dropping gifts

Of laughter and of love.

My Father how I love you now,

And how I always will

Your flights of fancy sugar sweet –

The coating on the pill.

She swallowed it, we swallowed it,

The empty, lonely taste

A life of anger, bitterness,

Of compromise – a waste.

The darkened road, the blackened map

The signposts painted out

You navigated in the sky

We’d blame, and cry and shout.

And who to blame?  Not you, not you,

You loved and laughed and gave

Your heart to us, from high up there,

But not enough to save

Us from the scratching, clawing rage

Born of the need to be

Something, someone – and have a home

I fought her; she fought me.

Where were you, as they flew so high,

Emitting coloured streams

Of smoke, so carefree, spinning round

Up high, your cloudless dreams

Where are you now?  Still flying high?

Or sitting very close

To her, one place, one time, one choice,

Sit still.  Give her her voice.

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