Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner -- 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.
      

(1945)

"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.




3 comments:

  1. That second picture is of my grandpa, can you tell me where you aquiredon't it from?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://www.parhamairfieldmuseum.co.uk/B17.html

      Delete
  2. That second picture is of my grandpa, can you tell me where you aquiredon't it from?

    ReplyDelete