The Ring

What had saved us forever before was
the held distance of the blue air above us,
our mystic notes able to rise sung
into the infinite. How we loved
with the flesh of tongues to turn the cold tales flowing
like an endless stream of melodies from the nordic reaches
into hosannas of exhalation! Days of sprechgesang
photo: bombers over Berlin
bright and hot, evenings cool and firelit.
With pens came lamps, and with dark inks we began
to engrave stories of Circus against Escadrille, of
Teutons on two and three wings. Above the Rhone
gliders schussed the frigid heights. Air pressed
with the aroma of petrol, thunder of Junkers, flash of cordite,
and we learned we could reign heaven in.
No longer did we need to climb the stony harz;
we rode its mined silver miles higher to be fired
in the glint of the sun, and descending Stukas brought
the top sky's death scream to Tereul, Warsaw, and the towns
photo: V2 launch
of the Meuse. Yet at that end of blue we
discovered a secret till then only glimpsed
in the dim morse of bombs, the black punctuation of impacts;
the planet's nightly sentence for ages as we slept eyeless;
the deep holdings of soil beneath Dresden, Bayreath,
while we stood gazing to the horizon; it is just
a thin blue sphere where light can exist a moment
before reclaiming by the ring of blackness. So we achieved
the perfection of Peenemunde, where our V rockets rose
into the final blackout and linked it, at last, with earth.
Have you not noticed since how many have left the forests
and plains for the concreteness of cities, how the pavements
and buildings form like bunkers, how the lights of the streets
are left burning throughout the night?