The Great War

from War: an Ode And Other Poems, an electronic edition

A Flying Song

O THE proud purr of it!

Whiz of it, whir of it!

O the fierce might of it,

Flare of it, flight of it,

Spin of it, speed of it,

Grip of it, greed of it!

O the wild will of it,

Throb of it, thrill of it,

Vim of it, verve of it,

Swoop of it, swerve of it!

Like a great dragon-fly over the blue,

So it flared, so it flashed, so it flickered and flew.

Nay, but the Hand of it,

Taking command of it;

And the wise Soul of it,

Keeping control of it;

And the brave Heart of it,

Beating as part of it,

Aiming the dart of it

Into the air:

That is the best of it,

Ruling the rest of it,

That is the marvel and miracle there!

Yonder no engine, witless and blind,

Driven by senseless piston and rod;

Its pinions are courage, its pilot is mind;

Its petrol and steam

Are vision and dream;

Its nostrils are filled with the breath of a god,

For there, like a speck, 'twixt the wings' mighty span,

Sit the Courage and Cunning and Strength of a Man!

O wind thou art humbled, O space thou art slain

By the wiles of a heart, and the wit of a brain!

O the way of it,

Swoop of it, sway of it!

O the wild will of it,

Throb of it, thrill of it!