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"Ode to the Eighth"

    by Mark Brotherton.
(Printed here with the author's permission)


          The missions brought about adulthood,
                    experiences of a Lifetime,
                            the promise of death

          You answered her call the mistress
                 in red, white and blue Flew on her
                     issued wings, flew on her breath

          Your comrades died in violet skies of
                aluminum and steel. You drank too 
                    much and grew old too soon

          You came to the mother country to
                 destroy the fatherland. The tales 
                    have been told a thousand 
                      and one times

          But the storytellers are leaving us and
              you're in line In a briefing room, of the
                     mission in  which no one returns

          At the end of a life to which too much
              is owed, But has she paid her debt,
                the mistress in red, white and blue

          Would you go again I ask, knowing now
               what you know? Should you have gone
                     then, may be the best question

          Do you remember? Of course you do
                 The flights of fury, 
                          the ride through hell

          The return to the green and yellow 
                carpet and the last bell you the 
                     ones, the carrier of the torch

          You were the children who rose in 
                the early  mist to carry forth the
                      good fight. I walk those worn 
                         altars of East Anglia now

          Made of concrete, abused by the 
              plow. Each year they go little by 
                    little back into this ancient land

          Rarely yielding the stories of the
              time in your hand. Then in events 
                     marked by a calendar 
                                   throughout she calls

          Again, that mistress in red, white and blue
                Reminding you that time is passing,
                        the years left are few

          You come again to return to the fields and
               walk among the ruins to assure yourself
                   it was you the warrior of years ago

          The young offerings to appease the evil
               and to  destroy its wicked ways children
                     growing into the main players on
                           history's biggest aerial stage

          To rise in the English mist and slay the 
               vermin of far away and hopefully return 
                      to rise again on another day

          You never turned back; you went on 
                without hate, And history will see 
                      this as the ode to the Eighth.

               -- Mark Brotherton 2001-03-16 --