a pilot from the carrier poem by randall jarrell?
may someone please help me understand this poem. all i know is that it is about war
Strapped at the center of the blazing wheel,
His flesh ice-white against the shattered mask,
He tears at the easy clasp, his sobbing breaths
Misting the fresh blood lightening to a flame,
Darkening to smoke; trapped there in pain
And fire and breathlessness, he struggles free
Into the sunlight of the upper sky --
And falls, a quiet bundle in the sky,
The miles to warmth, to air, to waking:
To the great flowering of his life, the hemisphere
That holds his dangling years. In its long, slow sway
The world steadies and is almost still....
He is alone; and hangs in knowledge
Slight, separate, estranged: a lonely eye
Reading a child's first scrawl, the carrier's wake --
The travelling milk-like circle of a miss
Beside the plant-like genius of the smoke
That shades, on the little deck, the little blaze
Toy-like as the glitter of the wing-guns,
Shining as the fragile sun-marked plane
That grows to him, rubbed silver tipped with flame.
- classmateLv 71 decade agoFavorite Answer
Jarrell was a military pilot and flight instructor during World War II. He wrote a number of war poems dealing specifically with the experience of pilots.
The "Carrier" in the title of this poem is an aircraft carrier, a large ship that carries a fleet of airplanes that use its deck as a take-off and landing site before and after their missions. The poem describes a wounded pilot who has to bail out of a plane that has been damaged (most likely by enemy anti-aircraft fire) high in the sky above the ocean. The pilot frees himself from his safety restraints, jumps from the plane, and falls through the air until his parachute opens -- "the great flowering of his life, the hemisphere/That holds his dangling years." Then he drifts slowly downward, observing the scene beneath him.