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Tabula Rasa

Tabula Rasa

The Bomber

by Evangelos Hugo Paliatseas

First Appeared in Burnt Toast#5, 1990

     An old soldier of the ground personnel to a young one:-
Look out, you're getting into the runway again.
Just look at it, isn't it like a huge and deadly
Beast being hurled into the night?
Like a beast with flaming eyes?
Look after your cap. You see, it's been blown off,
You must also beware of the wash
From the prop.

Do you see how the machine is rising,
It's now away from the ground.
Why are you stumbling?
Can't you see at night?
You'll learn how to do so.
Did you ask what kind of wind that is?
It's the storm, lad, the storm of the Atlantic.
Did you ask where the moon is?
Well, it's disappeared again, old son.

     The pilot:-
Do you see how they're searching for us, Max?
They've been waiting for us, Max, and now
They're sending their regards up to us.
What they'd best like would be
To burn us up with their beams.
What do you say?
They're getting at us?
No, they re not, but we're getting at them.
Are they still disturbing you ?
I've already got used to them.
And, even if they find us they can't hurt us.
Why not?
Because we're convinced that they can't.
They only give light, but they don t bite.

Do you like London burning underneath us?
I should hardly think the Englishmen are now
Singing their soldier song
"The bells of hell go tingelingeling
For you and not for me."
Do you think they're singing that now?

Are you ready, Max?
Have you got your finger on the button
And the target sighted?
You have,
Well drop the bombs.

     The soldier, showing the machine its place at the air base,
     shouts up to it as soon as the propellers stop:-
What's it like in London?

     A voice in the plane answers:-
In London did you say?
Well the bells of hell are
The bells of hell!


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