AirToob Lightning

For Johnny

Do not despair
For Johnny-head-in-air;
He sleeps as sound
As Johnny underground.
Fetch out no shroud
For Johnny-in-the-cloud;
And keep your tears
For him in after years.

Better by far
For Johnny-the-bright-star,
To keep your head,
And see his children fed.

The picture is of a Lancaster bomber on the night of 16/17 April 1943 over Ludwigshafen, and was painted by Marek Dziewa, as described in this story of commemoration and reconciliation.

The poem is by John Pudney.

The connection between the two (in my mind) is the classic British film The Way To The Stars, which was derived from Terence Rattigan's play Flare Path. It's one of my favourites: a simple and moving story of British and American pilots based at an airfield in the Midlands during the Second World War, and the relationships that they form with the local community. John Pudney's poem is given to one of the characters, and is always remembered by those who have seen the movie.

(If you are interested, I describe some of my other movie favourites here.)