Eighth Air Force

Randall Jarrell

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If, in an odd angle of the hutment,
A puppy laps the water from a can
Of flowers, and the drunk sergeant shaving
Whistles O Paradiso!--shall I say that man
Is not as men have said: a wolf to man?

The other murderers troop in yawning;
Three of them play Pitch, one sleeps, and one
Lies counting missions, lies there sweating
Till even his heart beats: One; One; One.
O murderers! . . . Still, this is how it's done:

This is a war . . . But since these play, before they die,
Like puppies with their puppy; since, a man,
I did as these have done, but did not die--
I will content the people as I can
And give up these to them: Behold the man!

I have suffered, in a dream, because of him,
Many things; for this last saviour, man,
I have lied as I lie now. But what is lying?
Men wash their hands, in blood, as best they can:
I find no fault in this just man.

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  • fae960869427

    Just read "Eighth Air Force" and it really got me thnking. It's intense how war can changed people. The way it talks about the sgt and the other soilders is like they're jus trying to cope with the reality they face. The line about the man being a wolf to man hit me hard. 😔 It's kinda sad how they can still play like puppies, but gonna face death in war. The poem was really deep.👌