A sestina about the Blitz.

Tonight the world is at peace

All sound swallowed by the darkness

It is pierced only by the shriek

Of a flock of crows, the chatter

Of houses being buttoned up, the blaze

Of hearths. Onward circle the birds.


High above, shrouded by darkness,

The flock of diesel birds

Dips toward Mother Earth, breaking the peace

Which so calmly veils the sky. The chatter

Of the radio continues its angry shriek.

Far below, lights blaze.


The sirens begin their droning shriek

As diesel monsters descend from darkness,

Painted with their twisted peace.

Swiftly the city mutes its blaze

And the circling birds

Have ceased their chatter.


Bombardiers begin their blitz, mechanics chatter

As earthbound missiles begin their demented shriek;

Deranged souls crying out in the darkness.

Brave GIs crew their guns, raised rudely from their peace;

Swiftly aeronauts alert to flak’s expected blaze,

Amid the protesting groans of their steel birds.


Machine guns persist their robotic chatter,

Brilliant streaks of light in the darkness.

In spite the city begins once again to blaze,

And amongst the wounded’s horrid shrieks

Those overtaxed footmen struggle to keep peace.

Onward circle those deadly diesel birds.


Surrounded by chaos, many thousands die in the blaze,

Though only the dead have seen the end. For them it is darkness.

Then peace.

The End

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