Randall Jarrell

(May 6, 1914 – October 14, 1965 / Nashville)

The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner Poem by Randall Jarrell


From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003

Do you like this poem?
18 person liked.
7 person did not like.

Form:


Read poems about / on: mother, sleep, dream, death, life

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner by Randall Jarrell )

  • Rookie Jim Arnett (6/26/2013 8:04:00 PM)

    I doubt very much that, while fighting in World War II, Randall Jarrell referenced abortion one bit. Your opinion, of course.

    And, by the way, a dilation and curettage vacuums out the uterus. Not washes. (Report) Reply

    Rookie Jeremy White (7/31/2014 10:31:00 AM)

    That's annoying - it dropped my quotation marks. Before the capital 'A' in the second sentence to the end of the comment is the quote.

    Rookie Jeremy White (7/31/2014 10:30:00 AM)

    It's possible he was thinking that way nonetheless. The poet's own explanation of the poem was, A ball turret was a Plexiglas sphere set into the belly of a B-17 or B-24, and inhabited by two.50 caliber machine guns and one man, a short small man. When this gunner tracked with his machine guns a fighter attacking his bomber from below, he revolved with the turret; hunched upside-down in his little sphere, he looked like the fetus in the womb. The fighters which attacked him were armed with cannon firing explosive shells. The hose was a steam hose.

  • Rookie James Dittes (12/12/2011 1:28:00 PM)

    Does anyone else notice the references to abortion in this poem? A fetus, hunched it its mothers belly, only to be destroyed and washed out with a hose. (Report) Reply

    Rookie David Lutyens (7/30/2014 8:43:00 AM)

    Following your lead in twisting things to suit a misguided, arrogant, small-minded and self-important agenda, can I just say Does anyone else notice the failed attempts to prop up his delusions of adequacy in James Dittes' comment?

Read all 2 comments »

Famous Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  3. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  4. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. Caged Bird
    Maya Angelou
  8. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. A Dream Within A Dream
    Edgar Allan Poe
Trending Poets
Trending Poems
  1. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  2. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  3. If, Rudyard Kipling
  4. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  5. A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
  6. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  7. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  8. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  9. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  10. King Rama II, Sunthorn Phu
[Hata Bildir]