The poem is poignant. If you’re interested in WW poetry and songs check out your library. The best WWI poetry set to music is “The Green Fields of France” performed by “Dropkick Murphy.” Second place is Eric Bogle’s “And the Band Played Waltz in Matilda.” I listen to these haunting songs during Armistice Day.A fascinating piece of history. My father was a waist gunner in a B24 over Europe in ‘44. He said the lifespan of a ball turret gunner was not very long. He pulled one of his ball gunners out of it in flight when most of the turret was shot away from him and he was dangling in his harness, unhurt. I first read this poem as a kid and it has always stuck with me, reminding me of the horrific casualty rates of American bombers flying over Europe in daylight.
The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner is a five-line poem by Randall Jarrell published in 1945. It is about the death of a gunner in a Sperry ball turret on a World War II American bomber aircraft.
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.