14th January, 1944 and a young man from Orangeburg, New York State loses control of his airplane in the skies above Nantwich.

The tragic consequence of this typically anachronistic wartime event and the ineffable magnanimity of an individual is thereafter dutifully remembered by a townspeople for posterity.

Here is my own, inconsequential memorial.


1st LT. ARTHUR L. BROWN, AGE 23

In silent spring
‘Midst foaming clouds of Cheshire blue
Your childlike hand works its heavy load.

Skitting fields flit past your beating breast,
Your blinking brow intent
On the grim bow plane of your hungry plough.

See the winnowing fan of the Plain
Its sculptured wings skilled in the seed,
In the furrowed seed of the slain.

You are at one with the engine,
A foetal dénouement with the thronging blades,
Your mother’s heartbeat, a dying thunderbolt.

For in choosing life, you chose death
And steered the harrow skywards
To fall as rain in the briny soil.

See the winnowing fan of the Plain
Its sculptured wings skilled in the seed,
In the furrowed seed of the slain.


© 2015 J A Elcock

Reproduced by permission from Come, Thule, published 2015 by The Artel Press