Death Poems - Poems For Death - The Death Of The Ball Turret Gunner

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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.


Comments about The Death Of The Ball Turret Gunner by Randall Jarrell

  • Rookie - 14 Points Patrick Musone (3/19/2017 4:44:00 PM)

    Poetry, like all other true arts, must be met halfway by the reader's own intelligence and experience. The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner became my greatest tool in trying to impart the essence of modern American poetry to my high school students: powerful images; multi-level interpretations; and economy. Jarrell paints with just five lines not only the dream-like insanity and horror of war, but the dilemma of self sacrifice and the
    loss of human identity. And that's just the beginning. Add to it the unmistakable references: the womb as a safe, warm birth; sudden separation and ejection into the cold; vulnerability and fear in the face of a hostile environment and horrific threats; final biological/human degradation; and the resignation of mortal man devoured, finally, by the state. The interpretations and meanings are virtually limitless, given both the unique and universal sensibilities of humankind. The work is, at one time, a controversial poem that beckons us, and
    a blueprint that describes the very essence of poetry. Yet, the most frightening insight that looms above all others, is the sobering reflection of what must have raged within and tortured the author to even be able to conceive of such a work. Pity Randall Jarrell, honor Randall Jarrell, love and remember Randall Jarrell.
    Just five lines, fifty-two words. (Report) Reply

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  • Rookie - 0 Points R Brownfield (7/12/2016 7:49:00 PM)

    Interesting how people see things that are important to them in virtually every poem. This poem is pretty straight forward though. War sucks. (Report) Reply

  • 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.

Read all 4 comments »

Poems About Death

  1. 1. Let Me Die A Youngman's Death , Roger McGough
  2. 2. And Death Shall Have No Dominion , Dylan Thomas
  3. 3. Death Be Not Proud , John Donne
  4. 4. Death Is Nothing At All , Henry Scott Holland
  5. 5. Because I Could Not Stop For Death , Emily Dickinson
  6. 6. A Refusal To Mourn The Death, By Fire, O.. , Dylan Thomas
  7. 7. Nothing But Death , Pablo Neruda
  8. 8. A Dream Of Death , William Butler Yeats
  9. 9. A Poet's Death Is His Life Iv , Khalil Gibran
  10. 10. Father Death Blues , Allen Ginsberg
  11. 11. A Death Blow Is A Life Blow To Some , Emily Dickinson
  12. 12. The Death Of The Ball Turret Gunner , Randall Jarrell
  13. 13. An Irish Airman Forsees His Death , William Butler Yeats
  14. 14. Angel Of Death (Death Death Death Dea.. , Udiah (witness to Yah)
  15. 15. A City's Death By Fire , Derek Walcott
  16. 16. Death Wants More Death , Charles Bukowski
  17. 17. The Beauty Of Death Xiv , Khalil Gibran
  18. 18. A Funeral Poem On The Death Of C. E. An .. , Phillis Wheatley
  19. 19. After Death , Sara Teasdale
  20. 20. On The Death Of A Young Lady Of Five Yea.. , Phillis Wheatley
  21. 21. Death Leaves Us Homesick, Who Behind , Emily Dickinson
  22. 22. First Death In Nova Scotia , Elizabeth Bishop
  23. 23. Death , Rainer Maria Rilke
  24. 24. Death Xxvii , Khalil Gibran
  25. 25. The Death Of Joy Gardner , Benjamin Zephaniah
  26. 26. A Thought For A Lonely Death-Bed , Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  27. 27. I Have A Rendezvous With Death , Alan Seeger
  28. 28. On The Death Of Anne Brontë , Charlotte Brontë
  29. 29. On The Death Of That Most Excellent Lady, , Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz
  30. 30. Gacela Of The Dark Death , Federico García Lorca
  31. 31. A Ballad Of Death , Algernon Charles Swinburne
  32. 32. Go Down, Death , James Weldon Johnson
  33. 33. Death &Amp; Fame , Allen Ginsberg
  34. 34. On Death , Anne Killigrew
  35. 35. Death Fugue , Paul Celan
  36. 36. The Death Of The Hired Man , Robert Frost
  37. 37. For The Anniversary Of My Death , William Stanley Merwin
  38. 38. Love &Amp; Fame &Amp; Death , Charles Bukowski
  39. 39. On Hearing Of A Death , Rainer Maria Rilke
  40. 40. Death , Heinrich Heine
  41. 41. As At Thy Portals Also Death , Walt Whitman
  42. 42. All But Death, Can Be Adjusted , Emily Dickinson
  43. 43. If Death Is Kind , Sara Teasdale
  44. 44. A Satirical Elegy On The Death Of A Late.. , Jonathan Swift
  45. 45. Holy Sonnet X: Death Be Not Proud , John Donne
  46. 46. Death , William Butler Yeats
  47. 47. On The Death Of Rev. Mr. George Whitefield , Phillis Wheatley
  48. 48. Death Of A Cockroach , Robert William Service
  49. 49. An Elegy On The Death Of A Mad Dog , Oliver Goldsmith
  50. 50. Fugue Of Death , Paul Celan
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