Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Death of the Ball Turret Gunner

The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner
by Randall Jarrell

From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.




















"A ball turret was a Plexiglas sphere set into the belly of a B-17 or B-24, and inhabited by two .50 caliber machine-guns and one man, a short small man. When this gunner tracked with his machine guns a fighter attacking his bomber from below, he revolved with the turret; hunched upside-down in his little sphere, he looked like the foetus in the womb. The fighters which attacked him were armed with cannon firing explosive shells. The hose was a steam hose." -- Jarrell's note.

The poem was published in 1945.

13 comments:

  1. Well hello there! In your article did you use the data from some studies or here are fully your exclusive thought? Many thanks in advance for your reply.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment, Sir Kevin, the note apparently was from Randall Jarrell himself, and I got it from this link http://unix.cc.wmich.edu/~cooneys/poems/jarrell.turret.html

      . . . which I believe is hosted by the Western Michigan University English Department.

      Hope that helps on your study of this most excellent of poems!

      Delete
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