Bug o' Night

Original Text: 
Mary Josephine Benson, My Pocket Beryl (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1921): 100. Internet Archive
2This boast of Old Mortality,
5On fateful mission high intent--
6Invaders of the firmament.
7What is this triumph, bold and new,
8That drops its bolt from out the blue--
9This armoured bug whose buzzing steel
10Has made the world its terror feel?
11And what can be the monster thing
12Provokes it prove its deadly sting?
13The hate that from its narrowed eye
14Has struck adown the startled sky
15Is fixed upon a hamlet small
16Where spire-chimes to vespers call
17And Age responds while Childhood sports
18And Youth to trysting-tree resorts.
20Gaffer and swain and child are dead,
21The bells are strewn that lately rung
22And the shattered Cross to earth is flung.
23And Bug-o'-Night of the Flying Corps
24Is gloating over one exploit more!


1] Icarus: son of Daedalus who, with his father's wings, flew too near the sun and plunged flaming into the sea. Back to Line
3] "Bug-O'-Night": airplane, so called because its buzzing engine. Cf. OED, "buzz," v.1, 8a. Other instances of this name for an airplane are unlocated. Back to Line
4] sharded: equipped with a wing-case ("OED, shard," n. 4). Back to Line
19] dartled: repeatedly shot out. Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: