* * *
We would take off like mallards
from a water-soaked field.
We crammed skies, rushing upward.
That was funny indeed!
In a day twenty missions, what a practical joke!
In the steam bath conditions
we were flying through fog.
Clouds were scattered like feathers
from a patchwork at home.
Tracers stitched them together into parachutesí domes.
We returned with no cover,
with no gauges, at night.
With my radio-gunner
who was shot in the fight.
Damage taken is haunting, bullets riddled both wings.
Center stickís not responding,
giving me the cold chills.
It was shaking in fever,
it was dancing its dance,
It was drumming the meter of a circus stunt act.
It still gives me sick thrills to remember
How we managed to fly and to land.
Yes, our airplane was showing its temper
By refusing to follow commands.
Well, tomorrow, if lucky,
weíll be singing our tune.
But today, my old buddy,
we are flying on fumes.
Donít you dare to attack me with a knife in my back!
There will be other takeoffs,
food for both when we land!
We should try a tad harder,
do you hear me, machine?
Since abandoning partners does sound foreign to me.
Well, I do know my onions
and itís not a closed book:
My bifacial winged colleague
has a dangerous look
Of a player whoís hiding his ambitions from sight.
But Iíll never be frightened
by this ominous sign:
There are limits for engines,
but I reach for the sky!
One will sing in ascension and another will cry!
If we manage to live through this journey
They wonít write us off to reserve.
Who will question a plane thatís still worthy?
Who will say itís not eager to serve?!