I Wanted Wings, page 1
I WANTED WINGS
Copyright 2013 Mika Paananen
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This small poetical piece is pure fiction along the persons and happenings. And a Battle Cry for a True Friendship. Get one.
I WANTED WINGS
Just before the crash I laughed at myself. I laughed because the flightless crate in which I was occupying the back seat was heading straight to a church tower and since Jack sat lumped lifeless in front of me and I could not affect the controls, I tried to rock the crate to alter direction of shallow dive. I bet I could have done that but the mass of dead Gnome in the nose won my pathetic attempts to change the balance. In the last second I just tried to move the heavy camera from my lap as our dragonfly with twisted upper wing in V-form hit the church roof and whimper and banging like failing sail in the wind ended.
In a plateau of bright green grass where horizon is a line
Without mountains, without trees or forests
Under running fluffy clouds and bright blue skies in the sun
I have arrived into a garden party like at home
Pavilions and marquees and long tables are up
Glasses, cups, plates, forks, knives, spoons, napkins upon white tablecloths
And look, mother’s Staffordshires I so much feared as a child
that I should slip and break them and I did
A memory hurts me like lightning
but skies are fluffy and clear
Three seconds of impact. Not as bad as hitting the tree in winter slope ’12 but boy is there crashing and breaking. Jack’s head rests now back. I can’t see his face but I think he has taken the Gnome into his lap. I have moved a bit and that caused the lightning of pain on my left hip and right ribs. I carefully raise my right glove covered hand to try the rib and deserve another lightning. The leather coat is intact and I’m afraid to open it. Supposedly the camera has crushed my left hip, the apparatus rests in my lap useless, it’s eye downwards. Removing goggles I raise my eyes. To immediate left is the church tower, I don’t’s think we made so much as a dent into the side but the roof we are sitting certainly lost a few tiles as we lost our wheels. The roof is not too steep but I feel something of a rocking. Or then it’s my head. I start to hear again. I smell smoke and hear distant rifles and heavier guns. Only then I realize the surroundings this side are murdered landscape. Stumps of trees among the holes in the ground, big and small, water filled. No living or dead to be seen. I’m on the church roof on desecrated and abandoned ground. I try to laugh but darkness is eager to my eyes as is the powerful stinging and rushing pain. Did I hear horses?
‘G’d Day laddie, we arranged something for you!’
Is that my first flying Captain?
‘You are dead?’
‘Don’t mind that lad. They gave my pipe back!’
‘I’m glad for you, Sir.’
‘Pff…I’m not that glad for you, young man. Pff…You’re going to be young forever, what say?’
‘I don’t understand it, Sir.’
‘Hurmph! And see the weather, can’t wait for wings, eh?’
‘I did want wings, Sir.’
‘Yes you did. And you got wings:
Straight into the Fokker Scourge!
What an unfair turn!
You and me and myriad of dreaming boys,
riding the clouds and taming the wind.
You wrote it yourself, boy.’
‘As far as I’m concerned, you nor other else should read it’
‘Oh, but they are going through your belongings very soon’
‘I can’t see why? Is there anyone else here? I’m thirsty…’
‘’Ere you go laddie, have port, ‘ere.’
I feel something strong poured down my throat. The pain is present. I hear snappy words uttered like in a hurry. They are German so I better open my eyes. A hand pulls metal flask away.
Against the gray sky I see a funny face, it is straight from the war posters at home. Long thin whiskers and a high decorated helmet. Curious dark eyes go around the wreck I’m stuck within. My gloves cover the camera but he has no interest there as he turns towards someone else down at the ground.
‘Etwa hilfe, bitte! Verdammt maschine fällt!’
I give up camera and carefully touch the shoulder. The German turns quickly to me, other hand probably at his sword or gun.
‘Ruhe…Wir setzen alles….’
‘Alright, but don’t rock the boat, if you please.’
I don’t think he hears me. I realize something is wrong with my face as well. Not that I feel it. I feel the hip and the rib. The whole setup creaks as the German changes his position. The same moment he realizes he cannot leave without the whole grim setup of wreck following him, I recognize his outfit from books:
‘Uhlan…You are bloody Uhlan?’
The German is now nervous and somehow holding the delicate balance and wondering what is so funny in thought of German horse soldier holding a wrecked British flying machine on the roof of a Belgian church. I am so amused to a degree of pain it darkens again.
My Captain went away
Where is everybody?
I’m I so forgotten in the middle of nowhere?
But look, there is my cousin Mary, fresh and pretty
though smashed under the rubble of London ammunition factory
but upon seeing me she turns sad and walks away
A bit nuisance that stinging feeling, so I look at my side
I wear the parade uniform but there is something sticky in my side
Why is there a camera in my left pocket?
I choose to drop it and it turns five times bigger
Sticky as well
The Uhlan is smoking as I open my eyes. Seeing me awake he offers me a couple of inhales and substance makes me wonder the dark gray cover running over us. We left the aerodrome in sunshine. Before this mess I wished to travel and now I’m at at nice foreign church with the camera. Fate is certainly laughing somewhere. Why does the wind in the torn wing fabrics sound like marquee back home?
Oh no, it’s great-uncle Carstairs
Garden seats fly all directions
as he swims among them towards me
and fingers his invisible Victoria Cross
eager to explain to me once again
how he earned it at Rorke’s Drift
He was never at Rorke’s Drift
He got a blow into his head at
‘Boy, I told you those things won’t fly
There’s no Pegasos,
Cetshwayo told me, haa haa!’
He died same day I hit the tree
in the winter slopes of ‘12
The remnants of board wings are giving up from the church tower, along the tearing sound. Uhlan looks more than worried.
‘You should go. There is nothing for you anymore. Go to thee horse, my friend. But thanks for trying.’
I don’t know if he understood but he starts to withdraw carefully and upon noticing that our wreck does not immediately follow, he descends out of sight. I hear only dropping tiles. Then a distant rumble begins and ends. I start to hear train as the Germa
‘That was not fun at all’
‘No one said it would’
He talks English now
I think but he replies
‘You talk German?’
‘Apparently we talk Human’
‘You like philosophy?’
‘No, it just came into mind, you into parade as well?’
‘It would seem so, though I miss my horse
‘I think he was not coming’
‘Maybe it is good. Look, there’s a garden party; you are then my guest’
‘Why? That’s my Mütterchen there, see’
Actually it is my mother but
it is all about Point of View
‘Hello Mother. Not certain if glad to see you
Are you dead?’
‘No, my dear. I am merely dreaming you at our sunny garden’
‘I thought I am dreaming’
‘Yes but I am told you will not wake up,
and I will wake up in tears’
‘Mother, I’d like to introduce you my friend,
he tried to help me’
‘I see no one, my child’
The horse soldier is there and he talks to the invisible
With the Sleeping and with the Dead
He goes quiet and a child in sailor clothing
So do I
‘Are we getting back to the womb?’
‘That would not be inappropriate upon these circumstances.’
I see he’s in pain. ‘Can you reach the flask? Or cigarettes?’ I try to gesture him at the same time. I’m against the edge in my crate, the Uhlan is under us against the grass. Next to him is a tombstone and I almost congratulate him not hitting it but I change my mind. He seems not paralysed and produces cigarettes. The flask is apparently somewhere amidst the graves. We cough blood at the same second. Then we have cigarettes in our mouths. ‘How about some..?’ I start. He continues ‘…feuer!’ and laughs, trembling with spatters of blood. He has a box of matches, with one hand he pushes it open against the edge of mass we are trapped under. I pick a match and scratch it against his box. It fails. It takes three matches until his cigarette is smoking. He falters with the box and it drops to the green cemetery. Instead he lights my cigarette with his own. We laugh. As much as we have blood left to spit around. An English airman in his broken crate and a German horse soldier broken under the crate.
He looks pale. I think I’m looking pale as well, I’m cold. ‘Well, I guess this is it, old chap. Thanks again for trying.’ A whisper replies: ’Bitte.’
We jump up and down on the grass of the plateau, two little boys
Without any restrictions of the adult or military
We are both just kids with little sailor clothing
He waves his hand to my family
For him it’s his family, under the marquee
I wave as well
My mother, my cousin Mary, my great-uncle Carstairs
and my Captain, wave back and sip their drinks
saluting my upcoming Wings
‘I shall get the Wings, where’s your horse?’
I laugh to my mate in death
He’s strangely as glad as I am
‘Look!’ he says
And indeed, into the blue sky appears a small beautiful cloud
Descending to my mate
I gasp as it is The Pegasos
‘It is not fair,’ I yell to my mate ‘Where are my wings?’
‘You have them! Fly with me!
My mate ascends with his valiant Pegasos
I think of flying and then think of the collection of feathers
going back and forth in my back
We rise to the blue, laughing to each other
Playing like fools on the free space
Through fluffy white into deep blue
I remain envious of his Pegasos
And follow him to the Eternity.
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