Did I really stand in that field,
more than fifty years ago?
small boy in short corduroy trousers,
squinting up into the sky,
my left arm raised to shield my sight,
watching the planes as they went out
over our village, over field and wood,
going out south like birds migrating
endless procession of wings and propellors
almost as wide as the sky itself,
planes and more planes,
planes of all shapes and sizes,
big planes, little planes, huge gliders
drawn like chariots by horses
that were more planes,
planes with smiles on their faces,
planes wearing beards or glasses,
long planes, short fat planes,
all going out in one direction,
all with but a single rumble
like a monstrous swarm of bees,
all going out for one thing only,
and of course at once I knew,
small as I was,
knew as we all knew then,
though it must have been the greatest secret,
knew, even as I ran shouting,
running down hill through woods and history,
down through the trees
to our cottage in the valley,
running and still more running
as the planes above kept coming,
calling and calling to my mother as I ran
that here and now was come at last
the day and night of reckoning.

(Watching the planes go out for the Normandy Landing)

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