Six poems



Six poems


Six poems, five written by Water Scott of 630 Squadron. The poems recall East Kirkby, Lancasters, lost aircrew, a memorial tree with a brass plate, an old airfield and a crew reunion.




Six typed sheets


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Now these aged limbs of mine,
Take me back through mists of time,
Down this quiet village street,
Which once I trod with youthful feet.
And in this darkening village street,
Do blue-clad spirits walk, and meet,
As wayward breezes sigh, and mourn,
Through the wayside grass, and tall hawthorn.
The friendly people, friendly still,
The village inn, the distant hill,
The welcome lights of our home base,
Set within this tranquil place.
The airfield acres, vanished now,
Surrendered to the rending plough,
With growing crops, where once it knew,
That gleaming flarepath, straight and true.
That sense of freedom, wild and strong,
The thrusting wings, the merlin’s song,
The mighty cloudbanks drifting by,
White mountains in that fateful sky.
Gaunt, bearded spectre, with the scythe,
Last enemy of those alive,
That spectre of our youthful fears,
Pursues us through the dwindling years.
The day is ending, we must part,
We who still, are young at heart,
And you, old friend, as we all know,
Just as you were so long ago.
Walter Scott, ex 630 Squadron Royal Air force.
[page break]
To some the Merlin is a bird,
Or a magician in the written word,
To us an engine, giving flight,
Through the darkness of the wartime nights.
The East Kirkby Lancaster, standing proud,
Facing the reunion crowd.
The preparations have begun,
For the starboard-inner engine run.
All eyes now on propeller blades,
Unmoving now for two decades.
Jerking movements, a blast of sound,
Then the ancient blades are whirling round.
Faster, faster, until I see,
The aircrew arc confronting me,
And mirrored in the shimmering blades,
I see every flight I ever made.
Slowing now, then the sound is gone,
But East Kirkby echoes linger on.
With the many gathered in time and space,
This single voice will take it’s place.
We know that fifty years before,
Here every night the Merlins roared.
More than a hundred of them hurled,
Their challenge to a darkened world.
From many Merlins, to just this one,
Youth to age, until all are gone,
But we heard again the Merlin roar,
On a summer day in Ninety Four.
W. Scott, July, 1994
[page break]
[underlined] SPIRITS IN FLIGHT [/underlined]
I saw them return, seven spirits in flight.
Engines fired by the sparks of the night.
Lumbering, throbbing like a battered ghost.
So thankful for a friendly coast.
Glowing and gliding, it roars without sound.
The rubber screams, as it kisses the ground.
Perfect touch down, on a deserted plain.
Now a corn field, a field with no name.
Night after night, mission after mission.
Helmets, visors, masks and ammunition.
The Seven Sky Warriors from long past.
All knowing tonight, could be their last.
I hear the fields, alive with noise,
Filled with brave men, some are just boys,
I see them walk, in their suits of leather.
Slowly and proudly, they walked together.
Where their planes rose, to meet the foe.
Now the larks rise, from their nests below.
Down the runway, only peace is heard.
Save for the wind, and the song of a bird.
Time passes – January to December.
From Spring to Winter, the years drift on.
Every April, Every Easter – I will remember.
Cliff, Al, Pete and John – Nick, Stan and Skipper Don.
“Spirits in Flight” has been selected from a book of Air Force Poems entitled “The Poems We Wrote”, Compiled and Edited by Eddy Coward (Ex-RAF), which is on sale at this Museum.
[page break]
Memorial Tree
“No Trespassers”, the sign proclaims,
As I pass by it, from the lane,
Through long grass, rippled by the breeze,
Forward to the brooding trees.
Footsteps muffled by thick leaf mould,
Like skeleton hands, the low twigs hold,
They catch my sleeves, as if in fear,
That I shall find their secret here.
Now suddenly, a clearing, split,
When a dying, plunging, aircraft hit,
A brass plate, fastened to a tree,
On it seven names stare out at me.
I press my fingers to the plate,
Thinking back to that night of fate,
That night of flame, and naked fear,
When a stricken bomber crashed right here.
Memorial tree, with your long life span,
Far longer still than any man,
You can project for many years,
The memory of what happened here.
Now, as I leave this place of death,
The clearing seems to hold its breath,
On looking back, did I really see,
Seven figures there by the great old tree?
Back in the lane, back in the sun,
Back from the time, when I was young,
I have just seen what I came to see,
A brass plate, on an old, old tree.
A poem by Walter Scott. Narrated by Michael Howley.
Both former members of 630 Squadron
[page break]
“Old Airfield”
I lie here still beside the hill,
Abandoned long to nature’s will.
My buildings down, my people gone,
My only sounds the wild bird songs.
But my mighty birds will rise no more,
No more I hear the merlins roar.
And never now my bosom feels,
The pounding of their giant wheels.
From the ageless hills their voices cast,
Thunderous echoes from the past.
And still in lonely reverie,
Their great dark wings swing down to me.
Laughter, sorrow, hope and pain,
I shall never know these things again.
Emotions that I came to know,
Of strange young men so long ago.
Who knows as evening shadows meet,
Are they still with me a phantom fleet.
And do my ghosts still stride unseen,
Across my face so wide and green.
And in the future should structures tall,
Bury me beyond recall.
I shall remember them,
My metal birds and long dead men.
Now weeds grow high, obscure the sky,
O remember me when you pass by.
For beneath this tangled leafy screen,
I was your home, your friend “Silk Sheen”
A poem by Walter Scott. Narrated by Michael Howley.
Both former members of 630 Squadron
[page break]
“Crew Reunion”
Now here, we talk of many things,
Of joys and hopes, and soaring wings,
Seven men of different kind,
Within the ramparts of each mind.
Shadows of the past we see,
The youthful crew we used to be,
The sands of time still trickle, slow,
For seven friends of long ago.
Fellow creatures of the night,
There as one, in roaring flight,
Togetherness, the golden spear,
To turn aside the sword of fear.
Suspended now in time and space,
Pleasure on each young-old face,
Voices, laughter, from the past.
Are reunited here at last.
For photographs, those ghosts of time,
With smiling wives, we pose in line,
Mirrored people, who will be,
Un-aging to eternity.
Muted farewells, eyes that smart,
As we met, so we must part,
The earnest faces we all see,
Return to vaults of memory
A poem by Walter Scott. Narrated by Michael Howley.
Both former members of 630 Squadron.



Walter Scott, “Six poems,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed May 28, 2024,

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