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William Morris Meredith Jr.

Notes for an Elegy

The alternative to flying is cowardice,
And what is said against it excuses, excuses;
Its want was always heavy in those men’s bodies
Who foresaw it in some detail; and failing that,
The rest were shown through its skyey heats and eases
In sleep, awoke uncertain whether their waking cry
Had been falling fear only, or love and falling fear.
When the sudden way was shown, its possibility
In terms of the familiar at last shown,
(How absurdly simple the principle after all!)
Any tyrant should have sensed it was controversial:
Instrument of freedom; rights, not Wrights;
Danger should never be given out publicly.
The men could easily have been disposed of,
They and their fragile vehicle. Then the sky
Would perhaps have darkened, earth shaken, nothing more.
In practice the martyrdom has been quiet, statistical,
A fair price. This is what airmen believe.

The transition to battle was smooth from here.

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