Saturday, May 28, 2005

Journal of an Airman



I.

three signs of an airman:
practical jokes
nervousness before taking off
rapid healing after injury

three kinds of enemy walk:
the grandious stunt
the melancholic stagger
the paranoic sidle

three kinds of enemy bearing:
the condor's stoop
the toad's stupor
the robin's stance

three kinds of enemy face:
the fucked hen
the favorite puss
the stone-in-the-rain

three terms of enemy speech:
I mean
quite frankly
speaking as a scientist etcetera

three enemy questions:
am I boring you?
could you tell me the time?
are you sure you're fit enough?

three results of an enemy victory:
impotence
cancer
paralysis

three counterattacks
complete mastery of the air

lastly but ten it's moving again
lastly but nine I forgot the sign
lastly but eight it's getting late
lastly but seven why aren't there eleven?
lastly but six I dont like its ...tricks

the maid is just dribbling tea
and I shall not be disturbed until supper
I shall be quite alone in this room
free to think of you if I choose
and believe me dear I do choose

for a long time now I've been aware
that you are taking up more of my life every day
but I'm always being surprised
to find how far this has gone

it's getting late
and I have to be up at times(?) in the morning
you're so quiet these days that I get quite nervous.
remove the dressing:
no, I'm safe, you're still there.

the wireless this evening says that the frost is coming
and when it does we know what to expect, don't we?
but I'm calm, I can wait.
the surgeon was dead right:
nothing will ever part us.
goodnight and god bless you my dear.

better burn this.

lastly but five oh god it's alive
lastly but four I can't live any more
lastly but three now it's looking at me
lastly but two what shall I do?
lastly but one I think I'll run
lastly of all it's here and I fall(?)

August the 23rd, 3pm:
we are lost.

a cart has just passed carrying the plaster eagle
the enemy are going to attack.

G.H.Q. commands:
1. that the attack take place on August 28th
first penetration of the hostile position 7:10am
2. a fake landing by pleasure--paddle-steamers
near the bathing-machines on beach 5
3. a main frontal attack:
divisions to be concentrated in the Shenley(?)
brickfields and moved forward to the battle-zone in
bakers' vans disguished as nuns

First day of mobilization:
at the prearranged zero hour
the widow bent into a hoop with arthritis
gives the signal for attack
by unbending on the steps of St. Philips

Fifth day:
pressure of ice, falling fire (???)
the last snarl of families beneath the toppling column
biting at wounds as the sutures tear (?)

Twenty-fourth:
four days.
what's the use of counting them now?

ah, what have I written?!
thoughts suitable to a sanitorium!
three days to break a lifetime's pride

Twenty-eighth:
3.40 am
pulse and reflexes: normal
barametric reading: 30.6
mean temperature: 30 F
fair
some cumulus cloud at 10,000 ft.
wind: easterly and moderate
hands: in perfect order

from here
W.H.Auden and Gerard Langley
from the album Tolerance by the Blue Aeroplanes, 1987

UPDATE:
Courtesy of ericb, who replied to my question at AskMetafilter, here are some extracts from Audens original at the interesting looking maisonneuve.

Monday, May 23, 2005

What is the use of getting the black jester out of the waste places if he is not to do what he like?

No. I wont listen any more. Go away. What is that you are saying? (Goes R. I. E. & speaks as if talking to somebody) No. I'll have my own way. I told you from the first I was go[ing] to. Yes I'm quite ready to take the consequences (Goes C) He's always interfearing. As if one could make any kind of enchantment worth looking at, if one had always to be thinking of him (at C, facing audience) The Stage Manager says I've got to make an enchantment for you -- something wonderful -- Something unlike anything you ever juggle for you. That I'm to cause a vision to come before your eyes, but he doesn't want to let me please myself. He says it must be simple, easy to understand, and all about real human beings but I am going to please myself this time (going halfway to the side). It's no use shaking you hand at me there. I am going to do just as I like. What is the use of getting the black jester out of the waste places if he is not to do what he like (returns to C). These are my friends that I have hung around my neck. Some of them I picked up on the wayside, some of them I made with a jack knife. I am going to make you dream about them & about me. I am going to wave my fingers & you will begin to dream. These two are Aengus and Edaine. They are spirits & whenever I am in love it is not I tham in Love but Aengus who is always looking for Edaine through somebody's eyes. You will read about them in the old Irish books. She was the wife of Midher another spirit in the hill but he grew jealous of her & he put her out of doors, & Aengus hid her in a tower of glass. That is why I carry the two of them in a glass bottle. (holds bottle in front of me) O Aengus! O Edaine! be kind to me when I am in love & to everybody in this audience when they are in love & make us all believe that it is not you but us ourselves that love. These others -- the black dog, the red dog &; the white dog. -- I am always afraid of them. Sometimes the black dog gets on my back, though [end p. 303]I have not been juggling but I will not talk about him for he was very wicked. I do not know the red dog from myself whenever I am angry or excited or running about. And it is only when I escapt from him &; [?] the black dog, and the pale dog leads me where i would go. that I would go to everything impossible and lasting To the place where these poor flowers that I have round my head can never die because they are made out of precious stones. They too are myself but that is a great mystery. The dogs, and the little king &; queen in the bottle &; the flowers, they are all going to be in the dream that you are going to dream presently, but they will be great & terrible & my birds will be there too (takes out birds) These sea birds that I shall be like when I get out of the body & this eagle that carries me messages from beyond the body & this jewsharp that I play on when my birds & my beasts wont talk to me & I too whall be ther, there in the dream & things that I would all that I did long ago or that I would like to do. I would like to lead...

The Black Fool's Speech By W. B Yeats. Found here.
This is a prologue written by W. B. Yeats to accompany a performance of the Shadowy Waters, sometime between 1904 and 1906. It is delivered by a "Black Jester" or "Fool."

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