An Airstrip in Essex 1960

An Airstrip in Essex 1960

It is a lost road into the air.
It is a desert
among sugar beets.
The tiny wings
of the Spitfires of nineteen-forty-one
flake in the mud of the Channel.

Near the road a brick pillbox
totters under a load of grass,
where Home Guards waited
in the white fogs of the invasion winter.
Good night, old ruined war.

In Poland the wind rides on a jagged wall.
Smoke rises from the stones; no, it is mist.

—Donald Hall

"An Airstrip in Essex 1960" is from Old and New Poems by Donald Hall. Copyright © 1990 by Donald Hall. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Home page image: "Wegbereiter Ikarus," print, woodblock on paper, by Wilhelm Geissler, 1966. (Courtesy NASM)

Get the latest stories in your inbox every weekday.