Richard Eberhart: “The Fury of Aerial Bombardment”



You would think the fury of aerial bombardment
Would rouse God to relent; the infinite spaces
Are still silent. He looks on shock-pried faces.
History, even, does not know what is meant.

You would feel that after so many centuries
God would give man to repent; yet he can kill
As Cain could, but with multitudinous will,
No farther advanced than in his ancient furies.

Was man made stupid to see his own stupidity?
Is God by definition indifferent, beyond us all?
Is the eternal truth man’s fighting soul
Wherein the Beast ravens in its own avidity?

Of Van Wettering I speak, and Averill,
Names on a list, whose faces I do not recall
But they are gone to early death, who late in school
Distinguished the belt feed lever from the belt holding pawl.

Richard Eberhart

Photo:  Gaza, 13 January 2009 by Khalil Hamra (AP)


~ by matt on 14 January 2009.

2 Responses to “Richard Eberhart: “The Fury of Aerial Bombardment””

  1. Neat poem –

    Eberhardt was a naval gunnery officer in WWII. Does that help explain the last line of the last “quatrain?” Do you know what the words “belt feed lever” and “belt loading paul” mean? If not – figure it out. It makes the poem work.


  2. Thank you, John, for visiting and your comment. Eberhart’s is one of the most memorable war poems I know.

    For those who might wish to follow up on John’s sage advice, you might find useful the descriptions of the technical mechanisms in Eberhart’s last quatrain (for,e.g., a Browning 30 caliber machine gun) here.

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Natalie E. Illum...

is a poet, performer and disability activist. Bring her stumbling to your city.

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